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article imageDeath toll reaches 500 in Brazilian floods

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By Sara Star     Jan 14, 2011 in Environment
Rio De Janeiro - More than 500 people have died in floods in south-eastern Brazil, the country's worst natural disaster for several decades.
BBC reports that heavy rain has led to massive mudslides hitting several towns, resulting in thousands being made homeless.
Affected areas include Trina Simpson, Nova Friburgo, and Rio de Janeiro. A landslide in Nova Friburgo has killed 200 people so far. Yesterday there was 10 hours of rain. Today, light rain coated the region. See video here.
People have been pulling together and sharing. There is a lack of water and shops are charging a lot for bottled water. Some areas don't have any electricity. Authorities say the death number will be higher.
One resident told BBC “Many hills just fell down. There are many bodies buried under the ground. They say around 2,000 people have died.”
He goes on to say that it happens every year - not new in Brazil. People continue to do things which make the impact of the floods worse like build their houses close to the mountains where the floods come.
People throw rubbish into rivers - things like mobile phone batteries and old sofas - and this garbage flows into people's homes during floods, increasing the damage and pollution.
Newly elected President Dilma Rousseff (Jan 1), now facing her first major challenge, called it a tragedy that could not be blamed only on mother nature. "Housing in areas of risk is the rule in Brazil rather than the exception," she said, according to Reuters.
Rio De Janeiro will be the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Export crop prices have not seen an increase as yet, such as soy, sugar cane, oranges and coffee.
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