Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rights group sues US government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Missouri town

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Americas

Rio missing persons toll at 200 after flooding, mudslides, say local rescue workers

Video by Catherine Nicholson

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-04-08

Rescuers dug in mud and debris in and around Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday to try to find dozens of people missing from floods and landslides that killed around 150 people following the heaviest in nearly 50 years in the region.

Rescuers searched for flood and landslide survivors in southeastern Brazil Wednesday as the death toll neared the 200 mark following the heaviest downpours in almost half a century.

Civil Defense officials late Wednesday said that 145 people were confirmed dead -- not counting up to 60 people who may have been buried when a landslide destroyed some 45 homes in Niteroi, a city across the bay from the state capital and part of the greater Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area.

There were people inside at least 30 of the stricken homes in Niteroi, Globo news reported, citing sources at the mayor's office and firefighters. It said two bodies had already been removed from the landslide site.

Images broadcast by a Globo television helicopter showed firefighters struggling to rescue survivors from piles of mud-covered rubble and twisted metal.

Globo said rescuers eventually asked the helicopter to leave so they could listen for sounds from buried survivors.

The toll was likely to rise further as dozens of people were reportedly still missing following the rains, which displaced more than 1,400 people and destroyed scores of homes.

Flooding over the past days has been so intense that authorities urged area residents to remain indoors.

Heavy rain, which began on Monday, fell intermittently on Wednesday amid sunny spells, providing hope that the worst was over.

Emergency officials said most fatalities were in hillside slums around the city of Rio de Janeiro, where torrents of water triggered devastating mudslides and scenes of chaos.

Trash, stones and rubble dotted the muddy hills of Niteroi on Wednesday, alongside precarious homes.

"People have nowhere to go, they're all doomed," Vinicius Gomes, the cousin of a landslide victim, told AFP.

Various officials and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva criticized decades of administrative malfeasance which allowed shoddy home construction in high-risk zones.

"Our aim now is to save lives. Of course we'll have to remove houses from risk areas in Niteroi," local mayor Jorge Silveira told journalists.

Most of the casualties were trapped in landslides in the slums around Rio, a city of some 16 million people that will host the World Cup football tournament in 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Many sports grounds and gymnasia were flooded, including the famous Maracana stadium.

The situation "is better than it was yesterday," Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes told a news conference, speaking before the Niteroi landslide.

Paes nevertheless maintained the maximum alert level and urged people in high-risk areas to evacuate their homes.

Paes ordered schools in Rio closed Wednesday for a second day, while state governor Sergio Cabral decreed three days of mourning.

The killer floods wreaked havoc with air traffic, delaying most international flights in and out of Rio's Antonio Carlos Jobim airport and forcing the cancellation of many domestic services.

Brazil had already seen deadly deluges in Sao Paulo earlier this year after the wettest summer in the region in more than six decades.

National weather service Inmet said Tuesday's rainfall was the heaviest in 48 years.

Date created : 2010-04-07

  • BRAZIL

    Rio de Janeiro flooding death toll passes 100

    Read more

COMMENT(S)