Page last updated at 01:12 GMT, Saturday, 10 April 2010 02:12 UK

Brazil landslide death toll rises

Rescue workers at site of Niteroi landslide, near Rio de Janeiro - 9 April 2010
A nursery was among the 50 buildings destroyed or buried in Morro do Bumba

Search crews have found more bodies buried in homes by a massive landslide that hit a shantytown near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro state's governor said as many as 150 bodies could be underneath the mud in Morro do Bumba, which would almost double the death toll of 192.

A week of heavy rains triggered floods and landslides on Monday that hit shantytowns on steep hills the hardest.

Officials have said further landslides are possible given the saturated soil.

The BBC's Paulo Cabral in Rio de Janeiro says there is now little hope of finding more survivors in Morro do Bumba, in the municipality of Niteroi, across the bay from the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Morro do Bumba was built on top of a disused landfill, making it prone to landslides, and the 300 rescue workers on the site are having to conduct their search with great caution, our correspondent says.

Relatives mourn in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, 8 April 2010

A nursery was among the 50 buildings either destroyed or buried, officials said.

Rio de Janeiro state Governor Sergio Cabral said: "There are about 100 to 150 bodies, according to what the fire department told me.

"The responsibility for what happened here rests with all of us, the authorities and society."

Torrential downpours that began on Monday afternoon set off dozens of landslides in Brazil's second biggest city and surrounding areas. Most of the victims were residents of shantytowns.

Rio de Janeiro's Mayor, Eduardo Paes, said up to 2,000 families would be moved from high-risk areas, but gave no further details.

He said 4,000 families had been made homeless and 10,000 houses remained at risk, mostly in the slums where about a fifth of Rio de Janeiro's population live.

Brazil's national weather service, Inmet, said the rainfall has been the heaviest in 48 years and was likely to continue in the coming days.


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