Severe Flooding Strikes Brazil

By: RTV/Globo/CBS
By: RTV/Globo/CBS

Heavy rains triggered mudslides and flooding in Rio de Janeiro, leaving hundreds of residents homeless and at least one dead.

Various rivers in Rio's northern districts overflowed, flooding the poorest areas of the city and forcing more than 200 people to abandon their homes in the northern district of Xerem.

One person who was sleeping in the Xerem town square died when floods inundated the area.

Houses crumbled under falling trees and cars were overturned by rushing water. Streets turned into rivers and sidewalks were littered with household goods.

"The house is gone, there's nothing left," said one Xerem resident, after watching her home be destroyed by the floods.

"The important thing is to save lives. Material things can be recovered," added another Xerem resident, who also lost his home.

In Angra dos Reis, a popular holiday destination among Rio's most affluent residents, 72 people were left homeless after their houses collapsed under adverse weather conditions.

After one of the hottest starts to a summer in recent memory, a cold front will pass through Brazil's southeast region in the next coming days.

Heavy tropical rains are a constant occurrence in Rio de Janeiro's summer months, with communities located in high risk areas suffering the brunt of the rainy weather's devastating impact.

On Thursday (January 03), as storm victims headed to a shelter in Rio's northern district of Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro State Governor Sergio Cabral issued an order for a special taskforce to be assembled to deal with the crisis.

In 2011, hundreds of people in Rio's mountainous region of Teresópolis died, many of them buried while sleeping, after a major landslide caused by days of heavy rains.

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