Death toll in storms in Brazil reaches 256

13:11, April 10, 2010      

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The death toll in the storms which paralyzed Rio's metro area in Brazil earlier in the week reached 256, local authorities said on Friday.

However, the figures may be much higher, as at least 200 people are believed to have been buried in the latest mudslide in the city of Niteroi, where the storm took place on Wednesday evening.

According to the authorities, 161 people were injured in the storms, and about 15,000 people had to leave their homes. Out of those, 3,200 were taken to improvised shelters in churches and schools, as they had nowhere to go.

Most of the deaths in Rio were due to mudslides occurred in shanty towns. In order to remove residents from the areas in which there is still risk of more mudslides, Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes signed on Thursday a decree which allows the authorities to use force to remove the residents who refuse to leave their homes.

The measure was severely criticized, but Mayor Paes said he would not change his mind because it was necessary to remove people from the hillsides.

The city hall also released a series of recommendations to the citizens in order to avoid diseases which are often seen after floods, such as cholera, leptospirosis, and diarrhea.

Source: Xinhua


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