Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil floods: 'Fear and devastation'

Image caption Priscila Lucina captured this image of the severe flooding in Petropolis

More than 370 people have been killed by severe flooding and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil.

The mountain towns of Nova Friburgo and Teresopolis have both seen more than 150 deaths, with dozens more killed in Petropolis. Thousands of people have been displaced.

Here, two Petropolis residents describe the scenes of devastation in their city.

Priscila Lucina, teacher, Petropolis

At this point Petropolis is recovering from the fright it has received and trying to recover what has been lost.

There have been 39 confirmed deaths and unfortunately still many missing. I do not live in Itaipava, which is the area of the city worst affected, but I do work there.

On Wednesday, I could not go to work because there was no way to get there, but I was able to to get in today.

I work in a school and many of my students, friends and some family members were harmed.

Some lost everything and only had time to leave their house with their clothes.

Many areas have no mobile phone signal so are unable to communicate with others to find out more.

Electricity was completely cut off so as not to short circuit in the street because of the fallen lampposts. Water was also cut off.

I have seen the suffering of people here. Around 150 men were clearing the streets searching for survivors.

The remaining population has been mobilised to help by donating food and clothing.

Nelson Toledo, 29, teacher, Petropolis

This area has been compleletely devastated by flooding and mudslides.

Firefighters restarted working this morning since they were unable to keep looking for victims during the night, due to the lack of light.

Image caption There has been widespread damage throughout the worst-hit mountain towns

The death toll is expected to reach 500, since some areas have not yet been reached by the rescue teams. Roads and bridges were destroyed and helicopters are being used today.

Everybody knows it will take ages to rebuild what has been lost.

My home is thankfully still ok, but some of my relatives have lost belongings and a colleague from work is stuck in his home as he is unable to get out, due to the nearby bridge being damaged. Thousands more are trapped in their homes.

We are all worried about the threat of more rain, which would make it so much worse.

NGOs are collecting donations and people have used the social networks online to find out how to trace the victims.

Mayors of the three cities have been asked what measures are being taken, but the sense of a lack of prevention and support given to the those affected by local government is shared by most of us.

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