sao paulo flooding
Heavy rains paralyzed Latin America’s largest city and damaged other municipalities in the region. Above: firefighters and other first responders search for survivors at houses destroyed by landslides in in Mairipora, in the north of São Paulo state, Brazil, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

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.

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.

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.”

Other Brazilians took to Instagram as well, posting photos and video of the chaos

“Yesterday, our night was like this,” writes Instagram user Vanessa7692, in a post of a video that shows a car submerged up to its brake lights and neighbor frantically bailing out water out her front door.

Another post geotagged in a northwestern zone of São Paulo shows the view from a flooded highway. At one point, a man passes by on a bicycle, sloshing through water up to his axles.

“Look at this situation,” wrote user thiago_morales09 in a photo post of a collapsed wall, with a billboard threatening to take out power lines.

The city of Sâo Paulo didn’t get the worst of it. The first half of this video show shots of other municipalities in the state.

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