Brazil floods: Death toll rises to 335 | world | Hindustan Times
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Brazil floods: Death toll rises to 335

world Updated: Jan 13, 2011 23:08 IST

The death toll from mudslides and flooding in Brazil reached 335 Thursday as rescue teams fought to come to grips with the tragedy unleashed by heavy rains.

The worst-affected cities were in the state of Rio de Janeiro - Teresopolis, with at least 146 deaths, and Nova Friburgo, with 155.

In the historic city of Petropolis, authorities confirmed 34 deaths, mostly in Cuiaba Valley, home to luxurious holiday retreats.

Most of the deaths occurred Wednesday, caused by mudslides and collapsing homes in one of the worst natural disasters in Brazil's recent history.

The authorities feared that the death toll would continue to rise, since rescue teams were yet to reach some of the worst-affected areas, like the Campo Grande neighbourhood in Teresopolis, where an estimated 2,000 homes were destroyed by the storm in the early hours of Wednesday.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff was to fly over the area Thursday along with Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral, who cut short a holiday abroad to oversee rescue efforts.

Rousseff intends to release around $464 million to assist disaster victims in Rio state and neighbouring Sao Paulo, where 13 people died late Monday.

An estimated 160 mm of rain fell on Teresopolis over just four hours Wednesday, mayor Jorge Mario Sedlacek said. That was more than the total that normally falls in all of January.

Worst hit in Brazil's seasonal rains are slums and other poor neighbourhoods built up, often illegally, on hillsides.