Brazil Floods, Landslides Leave Hundreds Dead

Brazil has begun the difficult task of trying to recover from floods and mudslides that local media has dubbed the worst natural disaster ever-recorded in the country.

Hundreds of rescue workers have been sent to affected areas all across Rio de Janeiro state, where more than 500 people have reportedly died with hundreds others missing. Rescue efforts are, however, being hampered as many areas are inaccessible. The worst-hit areas are several mountain municipalities and cities north of the state capital, Rio. The slides and flash floods left the towns of Nova Friburgo, Petropolis, and Terespolis buried in mud, reports said.

President Dilma Rousseff, just over a week since being sworn in, has promised that the government will provide “strong action” to help people recover from the devastation, which she described as “very shocking” and “very overwhelming,” the Telegraph said. Posing a challenge to rescue efforts, though, is forecast that rain will continue in the region. “Moderate to heavy rainfall will continue over the next few weeks, and that will probably aggravate the situation, because the soil is totally soaked,” said meteorologist Felipe Farias of the weather forecast and climatic studies center.