Heavy Rainfall & landslide forces evacuations in Natal, Brazil where U.S. plays Ghana

Breaking News

Heavy rains in the northeastern city of Natal, which will host the U.S.-Ghana match, led to flooded streets, a small landslide, and the evacuation of at least 50 homes and one apartment building Saturday evening.

The rains began on Friday and were expected to continue Sunday. The U.S. team arrived in Natal on Saturday afternoon before the Americans open World Cup play Monday evening. The team hotel is located about 10 minutes from the affected area.

There were no victims registered as of Saturday evening, according to Christiano Couceiro, a spokesman for the fire department. He said that public security organs of the state were already activated to take preventative measures. “Our teams are alert and ready to avoid accidents and to not have the city come to a stop due to this,” he said.

The most affected area, a beachside region called Areia Preta and neighboring Mae Luiza, is about a 15-minute drive from the Arena das Dunas stadium, where the teams will play. Mexico and Cameroon played during a downpour Friday.

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to arrive Monday for the match.

Heavy rains are common this time of year in Natal, and Brazil often sees loss of homes and lives in dramatic tropical rainfalls. Rio de Janeiro saw the country’s worst natural disaster in February of 2011, when at least 900 people died in flooding and mudslides in a hilly region approximately two hours from the city of Rio.

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