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Death Toll From Brazil Flooding Climbs


An aerial view of a mudslide in Teresopolis, Brazil, after rain tore through Rio de Janeiro's mountains, Jan 12, 2011

An aerial view of a mudslide in Teresopolis, Brazil, after rain tore through Rio de Janeiro's mountains, Jan 12, 2011

Brazilian officials say recent flooding and mudslides, triggered by heavy rains in the southeastern part of the country, have left at least 239 people dead.

Authorities say that in the mountain town of Teresopolis, some 100 kilometers north of the city of Rio de Janeiro, at least 114 people were killed and hundreds left homeless because of the weather. Downpours Tuesday and Wednesday in the Serrana region caused hillsides to collapse, swamping houses with mud.

The mayor of Teresopolis, Jorge Mario, says the disaster is the worst catastrophe in the town's history. The severe weather also left at least 97 people dead in the nearby mountain town of Nova Friburgo. Among the dead were three firefighters, while three other firefighters were listed as missing.

The death toll is expected to rise as officials reach the worst-affected areas.

The governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Sergio Cabral, called on the navy to send helicopters to transport rescue workers.

Heavy rains also killed 13 people earlier in the week in Sao Paulo.

The government of President Dilma Rousseff has allocated more than $420 million in emergency aid for the affected areas.

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