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Rio Mudslide Buries at Least 200


Rescue teams are working in a Rio de Janeiro suburb to find some 200 people believed trapped in a huge mudslide caused by days of torrential rains.

Fire official Pedro Machado said Thursday the mudslide hit a slum area known as Morro do Bumba in the city of Niteroi, burying at least 60 homes.

Officials say many of the homes in the slum were unstable because they were built on an old landfill where many years worth of garbage was buried.

Record rainfall since late Monday has triggered deadly flooding and mudslides throughout Rio de Janeiro state. Many of the deaths occurred in slums where homes were most fragile.

The death toll is already at more than 150 people, and that does not include those believed buried in the latest mudslide.

The state's heaviest rains in decades began Monday. Weather forecasts predict storms to continue until Friday.

Officials say 28.8 centimeters of rain had fallen in the city of Rio in a 24-hour period.

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, urged people to stay at home and off the streets, while Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral on Wednesday called for three days of mourning.

The rains have forced thousands of people to leave their homes.

Rio de Janeiro will host World Cup soccer (football) matches in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016.

Heavy rains in December and January triggered flooding and mudslides that killed dozens of people in Rio state, including 10 who died when a mudslide struck a resort hotel.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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