Photos Show Devastation of Brazil Mudslide That Killed at Least 78

At least 78 people have died from mudslides and floods in a mountainous region of Rio De Janeiro state after almost a month's worth of rain fell in just three hours.

Rescue efforts continued after the city of Petropolis was slammed by a mudslide on Wednesday, February 15, killing dozens of people. At least 21 people have been recovered alive so far, the Associated Press reported.

Southeastern Brazil—where Petropolis is located—has been hit with heavy rains since January with more than 40 deaths recorded from similar incidents in Minas Gerais state and Sao Paulo, the AP reported.

The state fire department said on February 15 that the area received a little over 10 inches of rain in three hours, almost as much as the past 30 days combined. At least 180 soldiers were involved in the rescue mission, the department said according to Sky News.

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Videos on social media show houses and cars getting swept away by landslides. The Globo television network showed houses buried underneath the mud which firefighters haven't been able to reach yet.

Authorities say in the Morro da Oficina neighborhood up to 80 houses were affected by the landslide. The fire department and local civil defense teams were working at the site Wednesday, Reuters reported.

"The situation is almost like war ... Cars hanging from poles, cars overturned, lots of mud and water still," Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro told reporters onsite, according to Reuters. Castro added he was mustering all the state government's heavy machinery to help dig out the buried area, according to the AP.

Others joined in the official recovery search Wednesday with Priscilla Neves and her siblings among them. Neves told the AP she was searching for any sign of their parents but only found clothing. She said she had given up hope of finding her parents alive.

"Yesterday there was a woman screaming, 'Help! Get me out of here!' But we couldn't do anything; the water was gushing out, the mud was gushing out," Rosilene Virgilio, 49, told the AP.

Emerson Torre, 39, told the AP the roof of his bar collapsed from all the torrential rainfall. He said he was able to get four people out, including his mother, but one neighbor and the person's daughter were unable to escape.

"It was like an avalanche, it fell all at once. I've never seen anything like it," Torre told the AP. "Every neighbor has lost a loved one, has lost two, three, four members of the same family, kids."

Several streets were still inaccessible Wednesday as cars and household goods piled up, blocking access to higher regions of the city, the AP reported.

Petropolis' city hall declared three days of mourning. President Jair Bolsonaro, who is traveling to Russia, said he had asked the ministers to help the victims of the storm, Reuters reported.

"May God comfort their family members," Bolsonaro said Wednesday in a press conference in Moscow.