In Brazil, at least 46 people are dead and more than 2,000 left homeless after torrential rains in Rio de Janeiro state caused widespread flooding. The rain continues to fall, and authorities fear more casualties. Heavy rain continues to fall in Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere in southeastern Brazil, while forecasters predict there may be no letup at least until Thursday.
The torrential rains began Sunday and continued through Monday, causing floods and landslides that have swept away hillside slums. Heaviest hit has been the city of Petropolis, about 60 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro. Following numerous casualties, authorities in Petropolis have declared a state of emergency. The main highway between Rio de Janeiro and Petropolis was shut down Tuesday because of landslides.
These are among the worst rains and flooding in Rio de Janeiro in several years.
Meanwhile, authorities say traffic accidents over the Christmas holiday have been among the worst ever, in part because of the rains in southeastern Brazil.
Authorities say 61 people were killed in traffic accidents just in the highways of Sao Paulo in southern Brazil. Traffic fatalities were reported in other states as well.