At least 15 were confirmed dead in the Brazil's financial capital and largest city, São Paulo, according to Reuters. Half a dozen people died as a result of the flooding elsewhere in São Paulo state after 24 hours of steady rain, local media report. Most died as a result of mudslides and building failure in the city's poorer peripheral neighborhoods, where houses are often built on or along hillsides. State and local government agencies scrambled to address the crisis. Some local news outlets captured footage of drivers marooned on the roof of their cars being rescued by helicopters.
"The priority is to locate missing people and remove [everyone] from hazardous areas. We have more than 150 firefighters working," said São Paulo Gov. Geraldo Alckmin Friday afternoon, after announcing an emergency fund to pump millions of dollars into communities affected by the floods.
Ted Weber, a technologist in his twenties was returning from a domestic business trip, was diverted to another airport a few hours away. He posted images of the flooded streets on Instagram, calling it the tensest trip of his life.
"It's still chaos for the most part," said Weber in an online chat with the Latin Times. "Rocks falling off cliffs, houses tearing down -- I read a child died uptown. The rain is just neverending. No one in my team got to work today."
The city of São Paulo froze all day, as commuters stayed home. Flooding spoiled stocks of fruits, forcing warehousers to fill dump trucks with watermelons and pineapples, according to Folha . Police stations filled up with brown water. Some residents lost power. Others found themselves stuck at the São Paulo airport, which closed for 12 hours overnight.
SÃO PAULO, 11 March 2016 (CBS News) – Mudslides and flooding caused by heavy downpours have killed at least 16 people, including a 4-year-old boy, in low-income neighborhoods on São Paulo's outskirts, Brazilian officials said Friday.
Capt. Marcos Palumbo of the São Paulo Fire Department told reporters that mudslides destroyed several houses, killing nine people in the city of Francisco Morato and four in Maripora, where another eight people are reported missing.
Three people drowned when they were swept away in floodwaters, one each in the cities of Guarulhos, Cajamar, and Itatiba.
The heavy rains that began Thursday night shut down São Paulo's International airport for six hours.
Images aired by television stations showed cars covered by water in Francisco Morato and Maripora as well as in parts of São Paulo.
The rains also halted commuter train service for several hours.