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Storms kill 7, force 52 towns to declare emergency in southeastern Brazil

(Xinhua)

08:35, January 04, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- The storms starting in December over southeastern Brazil have already caused seven fatalities and led 52 towns to declare state of emergency, official statistics showed Tuesday.

The situation is particularly critical in Minas Gerais state, where 108 towns were affected by the storms.

Six of the seven deaths occurred in the state and some 9,300 people had to flee their homes due to floods.

Several towns reported mudslide and damage to highways and bridges, as well as to water and energy networks.

In Minas Gerais' capital city of Belo Horizonte, it rained on Sunday and Monday much more than it was expected, according to the local Civil Defense.

In Rio de Janeiro state, one person died in the small town of Laje de Muriae.

In several towns, entire neighborhoods were flooded, and people had to leave their homes due to the risk of landslide.

The towns most affected by the storms in Rio state are the same where, a year ago, a major storm caused over 900 deaths and left thousands of people homeless.

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