Brazilian Navy deploys its largest ship to help victims of landslides

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Aircraft carrier Atlântico, the largest ship of the Brazilian Navy, arrived Thursday in São Sebastião, the city most affected by floods and landslides on São Paulo’s northern coast during the Carnival holiday.

The beach cities of São Sebastião and Bertioga received more rain on Saturday and Sunday than they had in the entire previous two months. It is a region of steep slopes, shallow soil, and frequent rainfall — conditions that make landslides a constant threat. The weekend’s storms left at least 49 people dead and thousands displaced.

The Atlântico can hold up to 300 hospital beds, which will help care for dozens of injured people. It will also relieve the pressure on local hospitals, which are already stretched beyond capacity.

As well as medical teams, the ship also carries equipment to clear mud-clogged roads and remove debris, as well as helicopters and smaller boats to rescue stranded people.

The region could see more storms through the weekend, putting the São Sebastião region under alert. São Paulo Governor Tarcísio de Freitas temporarily transferred his office to the city, and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva flew over the region during the Carnival holiday. Both have launched contingency plans and are studying measures to mitigate the destruction. 

On Thursday, torrential rain and hail hit the city of São Paulo (200 kilometers from São Sebastião). Flooding occurred in several neighborhoods, and citizens reported dozens of cases of buildings damaged by the rain.

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