Over 171 dead and 200 still missing in Brazil city flood

Recovery efforts on day five in Brazil

Bad weather has hampered the search for survivors in the Brazilian city of PetrĂ³polis, four days after devastating flash floods and mudslides.

Emergency teams had to suspend their work several times on Saturday because of torrential rains. They say there is little hope of finding anyone alive.

Officials say 171 people have died, including at least 27 children and teenagers, while 191 are still missing.

More than 900 people are being housed in schools and shelters.

On Saturday, workers dug with spades and shovels through the rubble and muck in a dense fog. Teams of volunteers are helping in the efforts.

The search is being carried out with hand tools and chainsaws in unstable areas, with teams being helped by 41 sniffer dogs.

“It’s impossible to bring in heavy machinery up here,” Roberto Amaral, co-ordinator of the local fire department’s special rescue group, told AFP news agency. “So we basically have to work like ants, going little by little.”

In one of the worst-hit neighbourhoods, up to 80 houses on a hillside were hit by landslides. Up to 400 people will join a clean-up effort of other areas on Sunday.

Tuesday’s rainfall exceeded the average for the whole of February, triggering landslides and floods in the city, a popular tourist getaway north of Rio de Janeiro.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who flew over the disaster zone on Friday, said the city was suffering from “enormous destruction, like scenes of war”.