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Brazil Flood, Mudslide Death Toll Hits 787

Firefighters, a National Force soldier and residents carry the body of a landslide victim from a home where the bodies of eight family members were found in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, 20 Jan 2011

The death toll from Brazil's devastating flooding continues to rise, making it the country's deadliest natural disaster on record.

Authorities Saturday estimated at least 787 people have been killed so far, and the number is expected to go higher.

Officials said Friday at least another 400 people are missing.

A Brussels based database has been keeping records on international disasters since 1900. According to their statistics, the last major flooding incident, in 1967, killed 785 people.

Days of heavy rains last week unleashed rivers of mud that leveled houses, threw cars on top of buildings and left at least 6,000 people homeless. Another 8,000 were forced to move to temporary housing.

The flooding struck several towns in the mountainous Serrana region north of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

President Dilma Rousseff's government allocated some $460 million in emergency aid for the affected areas, but survivors have criticized authorities for not providing enough help.

Landslides and floods are common in Brazil, often affecting poor communities where shacks are built on steep, unstable hillsides.

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