Thursday, February 29, 2024

Mudslide in Brazil: ‘I don’t sleep anymore, I don’t eat anymore’, says one survivor

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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“I no longer sleep, I no longer eat, the pain is very intense,” said Maria Lucia da Silva, a resident of Jardim Monteverde, one of the areas worst affected by the torrential rains that killed at least 91 people in Recife. Northeast Brazil.

• Read also: Heavy rains in northeastern Brazil: at least 79 dead, 56 missing

The 56-year-old housewife managed to evacuate in time to avoid the mudslide, but her neighbors were not so lucky: 11 people of the same family died and 12 people disappeared.

“I am so sad, it feels like my family. I have lived here for 40 years, most of them I have seen growing up.”

“The 11 bodies found will be buried this afternoon, but they are still looking for my friend’s niece. She was 32, and she is my daughter,” continues this black woman who wears sunglasses to hide her tears.

France Press agency

“I can’t say anything else, or else I’ll cry again,” she says, between sobs.

In Jardim Monteverde, a hillside slum on the border of Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, and the municipality of Jaboatão dos Guararapes, dozens of firefighters on Monday continued to search for the twenty people who had disappeared in torrential rain.

France Press agency

At the top of the hill some houses are still standing, but a few meters away you can see a sheer chasm, almost vertical, where a thick layer of mud destroyed everything in its path.

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Below, a pile of debris, bricks, clothes, toys, and other personal items of landslide victims.

Mario Guadalupe, a 60-year-old retiree, narrowly escaped the disaster.

Mudslide “almost swept my house. I’ve seen everything and know all who died,” confirms this half-breed with thick glasses and gray mustache.

“At first I saw a piece of land falling, and right after that it looked like a tsunami. Mud destroyed everything.”

His humble, miraculously preserved home is used as a storage place for food that is distributed to the victims.

France Press agency

We cannot say that it is a declared tragedy. I’ve lived here for 40 years and we’ve never experienced something like this before.”

“It’s definitely a phenomenon linked to global warming, because we’ve never seen so much rain in such a short time,” he continues, fearing other similar tragedies could happen again: “It helps us ‘warn of the future ( ) winter’.”

Meteorologists attribute the heavy rain that fell on Pernambuco to a phenomenon called “eastern waves”, which are typical at this time of year, with dense clouds moving from the African continent to the Brazilian coastal region.

France Press agency

In a few hours, at night from Friday to Saturday, it decreased by 70% of the total amount of precipitation expected for the entire month of May.

Although no one expected such a tragedy, some residents turned against the authorities.

“A lot of people here have lost everything. Not just their homes, but their lives! We need medicine and food,” says Gelson Gomez de Souza, a 34-year-old builder in a yellow raincoat.

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“Jardim Monteverde is asking for help! He warns that you only come here to campaign before the elections.

France Press agency

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