The death toll from devastating rains in Brazil has reached 44

The death toll from torrential rains that ravaged coastal areas of Brazil’s southeastern Sao Paulo state has risen to 44, the state government said on Tuesday.

Heavy rains over the weekend caused landslides and floods in coastal cities in the southeast of the country. Almost 2,500 people are still displaced or homeless, the government said, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing.

The city of San Sebastião suffered most of the human casualties, with 43 deaths.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva flew over the city with cabinet ministers on Monday, pledging to rebuild the city of about 91,000 people by building new homes in safer areas.

The floods in the coastal state of Sao Paulo were the latest in a series of such disasters to hit Brazil recently, where shoddy construction, often on hillsides, has had tragic consequences during the country’s rainy season.

The governor of Sao Paulo state, Tarcisio de Freitas, said the navy would build a field hospital for the victims from Thursday.

“The hospital will have up to 300 beds, with orthopedic, clinical, trauma and psychiatric specialists,” Freitas said.

The flooding comes as tourists flock to Brazil’s beaches for the annual Carnival holiday, which is likely to make the human toll much worse.

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