This is a representational image. Photo by Filip Mroz on UNSPLASH

After heavy rains poured down in coastal areas of Brazil's south-eastern São Paulo state, rescue teams raced to find dozens of missing people. The floods have left at least 48 people dead, as per official figures released Wednesday.

According to Reuters, Sao Paulo Governor Tarcisio de Freitas told journalists that they were "working with a tally of at least 38 missing people."

Landslides and flooding have been caused by massive downpours in coastal towns of Brazil's richest state. So far, it has been hit by more than 23.6 inches of rain, which is the highest cumulative figure in Brazil.

According to the São Paulo state government, more than 1,700 people have been displaced and 1,810 have been left homeless.

With 47 of the reported deaths, São Sebastiao, which is located about 124.3 miles from São Paulo, bore the brunt of the human toll. Caraguatatuba, Ilhabela, Ubatuba and Bertioga are some of the nearby towns that were also heavily affected.

The government shared that key roads like the Rio-Santos and Mogi-Bertioga

highways remained blocked due to landslides. But Sabesp, a state-run water company, managed to restore supply to the region, reported The Guardian.

The country's government and private aid groups were trying to provide necessities. But the logistics of reaching the isolated towns came in the way of aid.

According to the Associated Press, the homeless are being sheltered in churches, schools and kindergartens in São Sebastiao.

The state government of São Paulo said that about 7.5 tonnes of aid items including water, food and hygiene kits have been distributed to the survivors.

De Freitas said that not all aid has reached its intended destination. The problem popped up, as criminals took advantage of the chaos and started looting trucks carrying donations.

On Wednesday, Marina Silva, Brazil's environment minister, visited Barra do Sahy. It is a district of the hardest-hit mountainous coastal municipality of São Sebastiao.

During her visit, she was confronted by a local resident, Reuri Nascimento, who told Silva that he removed 22 bodies using his quad bike. He told her that victims of the floods and landslides had been abandoned, and asked why the police weren't helping. He noted that there's food trafficking, and that they "don't know where the food is going."

The minister said that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's team was making efforts to improve the situation.

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