The death toll from the major landslides in the Brazilian municipality of Petropolis has risen to 152, with 165 people still missing, local civil defense agency reported.
According to the agency, more than 500 firefighters were working in the area where the landslides occurred, aided by about 40 sniffer dogs, as they searched for the missing, reports Xinhua news agency.
Local residents also offered a helping hand for the search, especially in the area of Morro da Oficina, where at least 80 homes were destroyed.
The mayor’s office in Petropolis, a city located 68 km away from state capital Rio de Janeiro, began on Sunday a mega clean-up operation in the area, where roads and buildings were damaged by flooding and landslides.
“I never imagined something like this and, look, I have served four terms and seen a lot of rain. This is the biggest tragedy in Petropolis. I am going to dedicate all my energy to fighting right now,” Mayor Rubens Bomtempo told reporters.
The rains on February 15 that triggered the landslides were the worst the city has seen since 1932, according to Rio de Janeiro State Governor Claudio Castro.