Landslide in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, February 2024. Photo: Government of Rio de Janeiro State

Stormy weather late on 21 February 2024 swept over southern parts of the state from late 21 February 2024. In just one hour early on 22 February, the Recreio dos Bandeirantes neighbourhood in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro city recorded 42.8 mm of rain and the neighbourhood of Bangu, also in the West Zone, recorded 43.2 mm.

However, the worst of the damage, in particular landslides, was reported in municipalities outside the state capital, including Barra do Piraí, Japeri, Mendes and Nova Iguaçu.

Videos shared on Social Media showed the dramatic recuse of a mother and her two daughters who were swept away by fast-flowing flood waters through the streets of Nova Iguaçu.

As of 22 February, at least 8 fatalities were reported across the state as a result of incidents caused by the heavy rain, including 4 members of the same family who died after a landslide buried their family home in Barra do Piraí.

Two people died in separate landslides in Japeri. Two fatalities were also reported in Nova Iguaçu, although the full details of the incidents were unclear.

Flooding and landslides have also caused widespread material damages. Hundreds of homes have been damaged, displacing around 600 people across communities in Barra do Piraí, Nova Iguaçu, Japeri and Mendes.

The state government said it was providing assistance to affected areas of Nova Iguaçu, Barra do Piraí, Mendes, Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin, Paracambi, Japeri and Queimados. Sections of several major roads in the area have been closed, including the RJ-127, RJ-155, RJ-135, RJ-141, RJ-143 and RJ-145.

The state’s fire service carried out over 137 interventions in the space of 24 hours, including the dramatic rescue by helicopter of a man trapped in flood waters in Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin.

The state government warned of further heavy rain and the continued risk of flooding and landslides over the coming days.

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