8 killed after 2 buildings collapse in Brazil

by - 2 min read

8 killed after 2 buildings collapse in Brazil

by - 2 min read

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Rescuers still hope to find survivors in the rubble of a pair of collapsed buildings in Rio de Janeiro, officials said Saturday, as the death toll from the disaster rose to eight with 16 people listed as missing.

The condemned four-story buildings collapsed Friday in Muzema, within the hillside neighbourhood of Itanhanga. The area that was hard hit by recent heavy rains and flash floods.

Civil defence workers, firefighters, trained dogs and drones were searching around-the-clock for survivors in the rubble.

Luciano Sarmento of Rio’s fire department said Saturday he hoped survivors would be found because “air pockets may have been formed allowing people to breathe.”

Buildings next to those that fell were evacuated for fear of new collapses.

Civil defence workers, firefighters, trained dogs and drones were searching around-the-clock for survivors in the rubble. (Leo Correa/Associated Press)

Residents were allowed into their homes for a few minutes to retrieve personal belongings.

According to Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella, the area was run by militias that control large swaths of Rio, including the area where the buildings stood.

Militias, which are made up of former firefighters, police and soldiers, charge residents for basic services in areas they control.

When they began forming decades ago, many saw them as a force for good because they provided security that the state could not.

Today, however, such groups are full-fledged criminal organizations which are often considered the most severe security threat in Rio.

An aerial view of the scene shows the devastation in Muzema, which has been hard hit by heavy rains and flooding of late. (Sergio Moraes/Reuters)

This story originally appeared on CBC

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