At least 94 people killed in landslides and flash floods in Brazil’s Petrópolis city, authorities say

At least 94 people have died in landslides and flash flooding in the Brazilian city of Petrópolis, officials say.

The city, which is located in the mountains north of Rio de Janeiro, was hit by torrential rainfall.

Houses in hillside neighbourhoods were destroyed and cars swept away as floodwaters raced through the city’s streets.

The city’s mayor has declared a state of emergency.

Search and rescue teams are combing the mud for survivors, with Brazil’s National Civil Defence saying on Twitter 24 people had been rescued alive so far, with 94 confirmed deaths. Videos shared on social media showed extensive damage and vehicles floating in the streets.

“I found a girl who was buried alive,” Wendel Pio Lourenco, a 24-year-old resident, told the AFP news agency while heading to a local church in search of shelter.

“Everyone is saying it looks like a war zone.”

President Jair Bolsonaro, who is on an official trip to Russia, has said he will organise immediate help for the victims.

More than 180 soldiers have been deployed and more specialised search teams are expected to arrive later on Wednesday.

Petrópolis, once the summer residence of the Brazilian emperor, is a popular tourist destination. But its location means it is also prone to landslides.

The worst incident happened in 2011, when more than 900 people were killed as mudslides hit Petrópolis and neighbouring cities.