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Flooding in Rio de Janeiro claims at least 18 lives

At least 18 people have died in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state after 24 hours of heavy rains caused flooding and landslides, the country's civil protection service reported Thursday.

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AFP - At least 18 people have died in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state, after 24 hours of heavy rains caused flooding and landslides, the country's civil protection service said Thursday.

Civil defense commander Sergio Simoes said five family members, including one infant and two adolescents, were among the dead.

In Baixada Fuminense, northern Rio, three rivers burst their banks, forcing around 200 people to flee from their homes.

Meteorologists forecast downpours to continue throughout the day, threatening New Year's Eve celebrations at the Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana Beach and elsewhere.

The heavy rains and flooding have prompted city officials in Rio to issue an alert against the possibility landslides, especially in favelas in the north, center and west of the city.

Authorities have urged residents in at-risk areas to move to safety, even if it means abandoning their homes.

 

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