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Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 16:34 UK

Fresh Brazil landslide 'leaves 200 feared buried'

Landslide in the Morro do Bumba area of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, 8 April 2010
Officials say it is unlikely that anyone in the path of the landslide survived

Some 200 people are feared to have been buried by a landslide in Rio de Janeiro, following the heaviest rains in decades, Brazilian officials say.

Mud came crashing down into a slum in Niteroi, across the bay from Rio, sweeping away at least 50 homes.

Rescuers are still searching for survivors of previous mudslides. The number of confirmed dead is 150 but is now expected to rise steeply.

Officials are to distribute thousands of aid packs with food and medicine.

'Instant death'

Hundreds of people and rescuers rushed to find buried victims after the fresh mudslide hit Niteroi, one of the worst affected parts of the greater Rio de Janeiro area, late on Wednesday.

A nursery for children was among the 50 buried buildings, officials said.

Brazilian media initially said some 20 people had been pulled from the debris alive and that six had died - including five women and a child.

RIO FLOOD DISASTER
Relatives mourn in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, 8 April 2010

However, civil defence spokesman Pedro Machado later told the Globo news network that at least 200 people were feared buried in the landslide.

"In our experience, it's an instant death [for those caught in their homes]," Mr Machado said.

Torrential downpours that began on Monday afternoon set off dozens of landslides. Most of the victims have been the residents of the shanty towns built on the hills around Rio, Brazil's second biggest city.

The mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, has said that up to 2,000 families will be moved from high-risk areas, but has not given details of when nor where to.

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

Olympics

While rescue efforts continue, health officials are to distribute some 70,000 aid packages.

The kits will contain food, clothes and medical supplies for those left homeless or cut off from the outside world because of flooding and mudslides.

The Brazilian government has also announced an emergency programme to re-build homes for families who lost their houses.

The local authorities have also requested more than $200m from the federal government to help them cope with the disaster.

Brazil's national weather service, Inmet, said the rainfall was the heaviest in 48 years.

Forecasters say rain is likely to continue, but will not be as heavy.

Rio is due to host games of the 2014 World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016.

The International Olympic Committee said it would have discussions with officials in Rio once the situation returned to normal.

"We remain confident that Rio will stage top quality Games in 2016," an IOC statement said.

Brazilian officials have already stressed that the international sporting events are not set to be held during the usual rainy season.

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SEE ALSO
Flood-hit Rio tackles aftermath
07 Apr 10 |  Americas
Brazil mudslide death toll rises
02 Jan 10 |  Americas
Storms kill at least 18 in Brazil
31 Dec 09 |  Americas
Brazil floods displace thousands
26 May 09 |  Americas
Heavy Brazil floods leave 45 dead
25 Nov 08 |  Americas
Country profile: Brazil
14 Aug 12 |  Country profiles

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Mail Online UK Horror in Rio as another 200 people are killed in latest mudslide triggered by record rainfall - 1 hr ago
The Scotsman Search for signs of life among dozens buried in Rio mudslides - 11 hrs ago
MSNBC 200 feared dead in Brazil slum mudslide - 13 hrs ago
Miami Herald Slum disappears in Rio mudslide; 200 feared dead - 14 hrs ago
Times of India Death toll rises to 145 in Brazil flooding, landslides - 15 hrs ago


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