RIO DE JANEIRO – The death toll from the mudslides last week in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state has risen to 249, with firefighters still searching for the bodies of more than 30 people believed killed in the city of Niteroi.
The torrential rains caused about 300 mudslides last week on hillsides in the city of Rio de Janeiro and its metropolitan area, but firefighters are now focusing only on Morro do Bumba, a shantytown in the Rio suburb of Niteroi, where a mudslide wiped out about 50 dwellings a week ago.
A total of 164 bodies have been recovered in the different sections of Niteroi hit by the mudslides, with 44 found in Morro do Bumba, a shantytown built over an old dump.
The torrential rains and mudslides killed 65 people in the city of Rio de Janeiro and 16 others in Sao Gonzalo, with the rest of the deaths occurring in Nilopolis, Petropolis, Paracambi and Mage.
The Rio de Janeiro city government began bulldozing scores of dwellings Monday in high-risk areas, while the state government did the same in Complejo do Alemao, a group of “favelas,” or shantytowns, where 1,200 dwellings are slated for demolition.
Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral issued an order Tuesday requiring families living in areas at risk of mudslides to leave their homes and ordered officials to pay their rent until new dwellings are built in safer areas. EFE