Brazil Flooding, Mudslides Kills At Least 145
By Dialogo April 08, 2010Flooding and mudslides killed at least 145 people in southeastern Brazil, authorities said, as the most intense rains in half a century paralyzed the Rio de Janeiro area and brought scenes of fear and chaos. Fire and rescue officials said most of the deaths occurred in hillside slums where heavy rains since Monday triggered devastating mudslides. Officials said 37 people were killed in Rio but hardest hit was Niteroi, a city on the other side of the bay from Rio, where 53 people died. Flooding was so intense that authorities urged Rio residents to remain indoors and not venture downtown, where streets were impassable. Some motorists abandoned their partially submerged cars, while others were stranded for hours inside stalled vehicles. "All the major streets of the city are closed because of the floods," said Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. "Each and every person who attempts to enter them will be at enormous risk." Civil defense officials said most of the casualties were trapped in landslides in the hillside slums that ring Rio, a city of some 16 million people that will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Paes ordered schools closed Wednesday for a second day in order to keep people off the streets. Separately, Governor Cabral decreed three days of mourning. Flooding also wreaked havoc with air traffic, causing serious airport delays.