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40 Dead, 300,000 Homeless in Brazil Flooding

Officials in northeastern Brazil say 40 people are dead and some 300,000 others are now homeless following the area's worst flooding in recent memory.

One aid group there says that although water levels have begun to recede in some areas, they are still rising in places such as the jungle state of Amazonas.

Forecasters say the unusually heavy rain has been falling for more than two months across the region, and the pattern is expected to continue. The severe weather has isolated communities, flooded highways and hampered efforts to get emergency aid to trapped, fleeing and displaced residents.

But in the hard-hit state of Maranhao, officials expected to begin distributing tons of food, medicine and other supplies airlifted in by military planes.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday that the bad weather is a sign of climate change. He was quoted as saying places that are normally dry are receiving rainfall, while the opposite is happening in other areas.

A drought in southern Brazil has affected the famed Iguazu falls, which border both Brazil and Argentina. The lack of rain has reduced the amount of water flowing over the falls.

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