Wednesday 21 March 2018

Rio mudslide death toll reaches 100

Bradley Brooks in Rio de Janeiro

Rains pelted Rio again yesterday, a day after the heaviest deluge on record sent mudslides cascading down hillsides and turned streets into torrents in Brazil's second-biggest city.

The death toll soared to 100 in Rio and the neighbouring city of Niteroi, while children were kept from schools for a second straight day and authorities continued to urge people to stay at home.

"The situation (has) improved," Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said.

"But the less people are on the streets, the better. People should not go out if they don't have to," he warned.

The city remained on alert amid fears the continuing rains could dislodge saturated ground and cause more slides, Mr Paes said. Authorities reported 104 people injured and 65 missing.

Although the sun began emerging in some areas, pockets of heavy rains continued to cause trouble.

Some roads were still underwater, and a Copa Libertadores match between Flamengo and Universidad de Chile was postponed because of flood damage at the Maracana stadium.


Most of the deaths were caused by landslides that slashed through slums built precariously on steep slopes, leaving red-brown trails of destruction.

Concrete and wooden homes were crushed and hurtled downhill onto other structures.

Officials said potential mudslides threatened at least 10,000 houses in the city of six million people. Some 1,200 people were left homeless.

Rio, which will host 2014 World Cup matches and the 2016 Olympics, ground to a near halt on Tuesday as the rain drenched the city.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva downplayed the possibility that downpours could wash out the major sporting events -- neither of which will be held during the nation's rainy season.

Irish Independent

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