SAO PAULO: The death toll from heavy rains that devastated coastal areas of Brazil's southeastern Sao Paulo state reached 57 people on Friday, official figures showed.
Massive downpours have caused landslides and flooding in coastal towns of Brazil's richest state since last weekend. The city of Sao Sebastiao bore the brunt of the human toll, with 56 of the reported deaths. The Sao Paulo state government said in a statement that more rains were expected on Friday while search and rescue efforts continued with dozens still missing. More than 4,000 people were forced from their homes, it added.
The local government also called on tourists not to travel to cities in the region in order to avoid overloading hospitals, roads and water and food supply. It added it was conducting control measures to avoid abusive charges in food, water, fuel and other supplies on the coast. On Thursday a Brazilian Navy ship arrived in Sao Sebastiao to help rescue victims.
The ship will serve as an emergency field hospital, and is equipped with helicopters and landing vehicles, as well as hospital beds. Regional Development Minister Waldez Goes said on Friday President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had ordered him to maintain dialogue with local officials and ensure services are being provided to the affected population.
The government will also work to "restore and rebuild the city", Goes added.
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