Brazil mudslide toll reaches 105 with dozens still missing
- The death toll from floods and landslides that swept down on the mountain city of Petropolis rose to at least 117 on Thursday and local officials said it could still rise sharply, with 116 more still unaccounted for.
- City recorded 6 cm of rain, resulting in more soil instability and disrupted efforts to clean up the debris and find survivors.
- As per meteorologists, up to 4 cm of rain is expected overnight in the region.
- Streets turned into rivers and houses were swept away because of heavy storms.
- Brazil has been swept by heavy rains since December 2021.
- Rains have caused several deadly floods and landslides.
- In January 2022, torrential rain triggered floods and landslides, killing at least 28 people in south-eastern Brazil, specifically in Sao Paulo state.
- Petropolis and surrounding region were earlier hit by severe storms in January 2011, in which 900 people died due to flooding and landslides.
What is the reason for heavy rains?
- Rainy season in Brazil is being augmented by La Nina which is defined as the cyclical cooling of Pacific Ocean.
- It is also due to the impact of climate change because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.
- Global warming increases the risk and intensity of flooding due to extreme rainfall.
What are the Niño and La Niña?
- They are two natural climate phenomena occurring across the tropical Pacific Ocean and influence the weather conditions all over the world.
- While the El Niño period is characterised by warming or increased sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a La Niña event causes the water in the eastern Pacific Ocean to be colder than usual.
- Together, they are called ENSO or El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
Weather changes because of La Nina:
- The Horn of Africa and Central Asia will see below-average rainfall due to La Niña.
- East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.
- It could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.
- It could also affect the South-West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity.
- Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.
- In India, La Niña means the country will receive more rainfall than normal, leading to floods.
- Petropolis, also called The Imperial City, is a municipality in the Southeast Region of Brazil inside Rio de Janeiro state.
- It is the largest and most populous city in Fluminense Mountain Region.
- It also has the largest GDP and HDI in this region.
- The city is considered the safest city in Rio de Janeiro and the sixth safest city in Brazil.
- It is a popular destination for tourists, who are fleeing the summer heat of Rio.
- It is known for leafy streets, the imperial palace and stately homes as well as the natural beauty of surrounding mountains.