Storms kill 32 and bring chaos to Rio

08:33, April 07, 2010      

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The storms which have been hitting Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state in the past 15 hours have killed 32 people, according to the latest Civil Defense report, released on Tuesday morning.

Eight deaths occurred in the state's capital city Rio, 14 in neighboring Niteroi (14), nine in Sao Goncalo and one in Nilopolis. The death toll is expected to rise during the day, due to the mudslides occurred in several regions.

According to the authorities, 250 millimeters of rain have already fallen in Rio's metro area, twice the amount of rain expected for the entire month of April. Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes said earlier in the day that the city is not prepared to deal with a storm of those proportions. He recommended that the population stay in safe places and do not try to go to work.

In an interview to a TV program, Mayor Paes said that the authorities' biggest worry is the situation of the people who live in risk areas.

"Our biggest worry now is the hills," he said. "We ask the people who live in the hills to go to a safer place, because the risk of mudslides is very high."

Several neighborhoods were left without electricity. Classes were suspended in most public and private schools, as well as in some of Rio's universities. In the public courts and in the state' s Assembly, sessions were suspended as well. The Rio-Niteroi Bridge has been closed several times during the morning due to the fog.

The rain in the state is expected to continue until Wednesday.



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