eight dead in landslide, including four children

Eight people, including four children, died in a landslide after heavy rains in Manaus, northern Brazil, local authorities said on Monday, as firefighters continue to search through the rubble of buried homes.

“Three people were rescued alive, and eight bodies were recovered, four adults and four children. The search will continue throughout the day,” the state governor’s office said in a statement. Amazonas, of which Manaus is the capital.

According to the town hall, at least 11 houses were buried under the mudslide, in the popular district of Jorge Teixeira, built on the hillside in the west of the largest metropolis in the Amazon.

“There is still the possibility that people are missing, which is why we are continuing the search, until we are certain that there is no longer anyone” under the rubble, said the colonel Orleilso Ximenes Muniz, commander of the Amazonas firefighters, to journalists present on the spot, including AFP.

According to him, 74 residents of the neighborhood had to be evacuated.

“It is a difficult place to access, and (rescuers) have received help from the whole neighborhood in the search for the missing,” said Governor Wilson Lima, quoted in a press release.

“In Manaus we have more than a thousand areas like this (built on the hillside), including 62 at high risk,” said Mayor David Almeida, promising investments in the prevention of natural disasters.

In February, landslides caused by record rainfall killed at least 65 people in a coastal region of the state of Sao Paulo (southeast).

In Brazil, 9.5 million people live in areas at risk from floods and landslides.

Experts blame the effects of climate change and uncontrolled urbanization.