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São Paulo state floods kill dozens; cities cancel carnivals

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RIO DE JANEIRO — At least 26 people were killed and several hundred more displaced in coastal communities in the state of São Paulo, after heavy rains on the weekend caused flooding and landslides that swallowed homes and cars, and forced official to cancel some Carnival festivities.

São Paulo’s governor, Tarcísio de Freitas, declared a state of “public calamity” on Sunday for the hard-hit areas of Ubatuba, São Sebastião, Ilhabela, Caraguatatuba and Bertioga. The state government said more than 200 people have been displaced and nearly 340 left homeless by the flooding.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he planned to visit São Paulo on Monday.

“We are going to bring together all levels of government and, with the solidarity of society, treat the wounded, look for the missing, restore highways, power connections and telecommunications in the region,” he said in a tweet. “My condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy.”

The dead included a 7-year-old, according to the São Paulo fire department, and officials have said the number could rise further. The army has been deployed to aid search-and-rescue efforts. Among the rescued, the governor said, was a mother in labor and her newborn son.

Brazil’s civil defense agency said some of the affected areas saw more than 23 inches of rainfall in 24 hours. Inclement weather was forecast for early this week, potentially further complicating response efforts.

Footage on Brazilian television showed roads in the hard-hit areas blocked by fallen trees and other debris, or transformed into muddy rivers. Local media reported that the floods and landslides had severed access to some of the affected areas by land and that they were accessible only by air.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.