Heavy Rain in Rio de Janeiro Causes Flooding and Mudslides22.9S 43.2W
Rescuers are searching for survivors in the Rio de Janiero area of Brazil after the heaviest rainfall to hit the area in 48 years caused landslides and floods that left at least 110 people dead. Officials said the toll could rise as many people are missing in the wake of the heaviest downpours in four decades. At least 43 were killed in Rio de Janeiro city after 28cm (11in) of rain fell in 24 hours, but the neighbouring city of Niteroi was the hardest hit, with 60 deaths.
The mayor of Rio has urged people in high-risk areas to evacuate their homes as officials warned that 10,000 houses remained at risk from landslides. Forecasters say the rain will continue, but with less intensity than before. Here, although the atmosphere is beginning to clear a bit, rainclouds can still be seen along the coast, obscuring Rio de Janeiro and nearby cities.
Earlier in the week, the major streets in the city were closed due to floods. The flooding also disrupted most international flights in and out of Rio’s main airport and forced the cancellation of many domestic services. All schools and many businesses were closed on Wednesday, but several government offices have re-opened.
“The city is starting to return to normal, but the rains are still intense,” Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes told reporters early on Wednesday. He also 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. Most of those who died over the past two days were people who lived in favelas (shanty towns), where many houses were buried under mudslides.