At least 14 people have died in a residential building collapse in northeastern Brazil, while the last person missing has been found dead.
The apartment building, located in the Janga neighborhood on the outskirts of Recife, collapsed during heavy rains that hit the area. The exact cause of the collapse remains unclear. Three people miraculously survived in the midst of this devastation.
Pernambuco Governor Raquel Lyra expressed her condolences on Twitter and assured the affected families that the state government would spare no effort to provide assistance. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time. We remain committed to supporting those in need,” he added.
After the search for survivors was completed, Civil Defense officials confirmed 14 casualties. The victims include men, women and children aged between five and 45. The dead included a 43-year-old mother and her 19-year-old son, as well as two young children aged five and eight. Rescuers managed to save three persons, a 65-year-old woman and two teenagers, but no information was given on their condition.
The collapsed building was closed in 2010 due to the danger of collapse, yet it had been illegally occupied ever since. The incident was reminiscent of a similar tragedy that occurred in April, when another structurally damaged building collapsed in the city of Olinda, also in Pernambuco, resulting in the deaths of six people. It is worth noting that most building collapses in Brazil tend to occur in poor areas where illegal construction is prevalent.
Recife, a city of about 1.5 million inhabitants, has been battling heavy rains in recent days. As more rain is expected, officials have urged residents to take shelter in safer structures.