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Rescue efforts underway in flood-hit Brazil

01-18-2011 09:19 BJT

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Starting with Brazil, where floods and mudslides, caused by days and days of steady rain, have now claimed the lives of more than 650 people in the mountainous region, north of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian army is now helping the victims.

It is Brazil's worst natural disaster in decades. Heavy rain triggered massive landslides that covered several towns, leaving thousands homeless.

The army has sent 700 soldiers to rescue people from neighborhoods that have been cut off. Troops have already built at least one bridge in the mountain city of Teresopolis, but at least 10 main highways remain blocked.

Rescuers have yet to reach about 20 neighborhoods, though a break in rain and better visibility has allowed about 12 helicopters to begin taking supplies and firefighters in, and bring injured survivors out.

In Nova Friburgo, efforts are being made to clear some of the debris and mud. Many residents continue to live in homes in threatened areas, unwilling to join the thousands crowded into shelters. They say that despite being scared, moving or staying elsewhere is uncomfortable.

The federal government has also offered to pay the rent for 2,500 families for an indeterminate period.

The local government says at least 50 thousand new homes must be built. Roads, bridges and commercial buildings need to be repaired, razed or replaced.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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