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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 22:08 GMT
Brazil mudslides kill dozens
Rescue workers at the scene
Two months' rainfall struck the area in two days

Rescue efforts are continuing in Brazil to try to find survivors after mudslides at a coastal resort killed at least 36 people but there is very little hope of finding anyone alive.

Fifty others are reported missing after torrential rain buried houses and filled streets with mud.

The town of Angra dos Reis, 160 kilometres (99 miles) from Rio de Janeiro, was drenched by two months' worth of rain in just one night.

The river burst its banks, flooding streets with mud and water.

Mudslides hit eight different neighbourhoods, burying houses and shacks built precariously on steep hillsides.

Rescue hampered

Extra firefighting teams have been sent in to try to dig out survivors.

Rescue efforts have been hampered because access roads to the town were cut.

Nurse takes baby to shelter
There is little hope of finding further survivors
The local mayor declared a state of emergency.

He said that in addition to those killed and missing some 1,500 people were left homeless.

The resort is a popular departure point for Rio's well-to-do to visit hundreds of small islands and beaches off the coast.

But the town itself is relatively poor with a number of slums, which were worst affected.

Experts warn that much larger Brazilian cities, like Rio and Salvador da Bahia, could face much worst disasters because they have hundreds of thousands of people living in slums which cling to hillsides, offering little protection from heavy storms.

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The BBC's Tom Gibb
"The river burst its bank flooding streets with mud and water"
See also:

14 Sep 02 | Americas
27 Dec 01 | Americas
14 Dec 01 | Americas
27 Jul 01 | Country profiles
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