The death toll from landslides and floods in and around Rio de Janeiro this week has reached 205 and was expected to rise as searchers continued looking for bodies in an operation expected to last through the weekend, authorities have said.
Morning and afternoon downpours yesterday threatened to set off new slides as emergency crews used excavating equipment to search for victims at the most devastated site: a slum built atop a garbage dump that was buried by a landslide.
Crews have pulled 27 bodies from the debris so far at the hardest hit site in Niteroi, next to Rio. Authorities fear the death toll from that slide alone could be as many as 200, though it was not clear exactly how many people were buried beneath the mud.
The latest confirmed death toll of 205 was released in a statement by Rio de Janeiro state's civil defense department yesterday. It said 161 people were injured.
Most of the victims were swept away in landslides that roared through slums built on steep, unstable hillsides.