Update: Brazil flood death toll jumps to 335 (Telegraph)
At least 257 people have been killed and the death toll is likely to rise after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Three towns in the Serrana mountain region north of Rio were devastated as landslides destroyed homes, roads and power lines and buried families alive as they slept.
Teresopolis, 62 miles north of Rio, was the worst hit town with 130 deaths recorded after hillsides gave way and a river burst its banks following the equivalent of a month’s rainfall in 24 hours.
In Nova Friburgo 107 were killed, including three firemen buried by mudslides, while 20 people died in Petropolis, according to Brazil’s Globo News television channel.
Thousands of people in the region were cut off from electricity and telephone contact and around 1,000 were left homeless in Teresopolis alone, according to Jorge Mario, the town’s mayor.
“It’s the biggest catastrophe in the history of the town,” he said, as he warned the death toll could rise further as rescue workers reach remote areas.
By Robin Yapp, Sao Paulo 11:56PM GMT 12 Jan 2011
Source: The Telegraph