Floods and landslides in Brazil kill dozens in São Paulo state | Brazil

Heavy rains in coastal areas of southeastern Brazil have caused flooding and landslides that have killed 36 people and displaced hundreds more, São Paulo state authorities said on Sunday.

Rescuers are searching for victims, reconnecting isolated communities and clearing blocked roads that have trapped an unknown number of tourists who have traveled to watch carnival celebrations.

Weather forecasts showed heavy rains would continue in São Paulo’s coastal area, challenging civil defense and firefighter rescue teams and raising the prospect of a higher death toll.

The SP-55 highway blocked by a landslide in the municipality of Ubatuba on the northern coast of the state of São Paulo. Photo: Ubatuba Civil Defense/AFP/Getty Images

The federal government has mobilized several departments to help victims, restore infrastructure and launch reconstruction work.

The state of São Paulo has declared a 180-day state of calamity for six cities after what experts described as an unprecedented extreme weather event.

The mayor of Ubatuba said a seven-year-old girl was among those killed.

The cities of São Sebastião, Ubatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga have canceled their carnival festivities as rescue teams struggle to find missing, injured and feared people. Parts of the state received more than 58 cm (23 inches) of rain in one day.

On Monday, São Paulo Governor Tarcísio de Freitas is expected to meet with federal officials as they coordinate the response to the tragedy.

Operations at the port of Santos, the largest in Latin America, were halted amid gusts of wind exceeding 55 km/h (34 mph) and waves over a meter high on Saturday, according to local media .

The president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was spending the carnival in the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, was due to visit the main affected areas on Monday, his office said.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report

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