21 adults and 12 children fell Monday evening when a sidewalk on Avenida Beira Rio next to a river collapsed just after Christmas lights were illuminated. They had gathered in Joinville in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, to take part in the city’s annual Christmas festival. People fell into the Cachoeira River. Video images showed people at the event pulling other people out of the hole caused by the sidewalk collapse. The rescued were sent to local hospitals but none had serious injuries. The ceremony had to be interrupted for 40 minutes. The city’s mayor, Adriano Silva, thanked emergency responders in his speech. He called a meeting on Tuesday morning with managers from various city infrastructure departments to determine the next steps of action after the incident.
Joinville is the largest city in Santa Catarina, in the Southern Region of Brazil. It is a major industrial, financial and commerce center. The city, which has one of the highest standards of living in Latin America, has become a major center for events and business conferences. Its origins are French: the area of Joinville was the Colônia Dona Francisca, designated as the dowry to be given to the future husband of Princess Francisca of Brazil, sister of Emperor Pedro II. Brazil celebrates Christmas in the middle of summer so the days are hot and sunny, giving the festivities a tropical mood. Santa Claus is the same in Brazil as most of the Western world see him. Like other Christian countries Brazil celebrates Christmas with great joy. Brazilians decorate their shop, houses and street with Christmas decoration, lights, and Christmas tree.