Rains Hinder Aid in Flooded Brazil

32 dead, 200k homeless as rescue teams mobilize
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 6, 2009 7:49 PM CDT
Flooded streets are seen in the Boca do Rio neighborhood in Salvador, Brazil, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Manui Dias, AGECOM)
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(Newser) – Brazilian soldiers and civil defense authorities are using boats, trucks and helicopters to tote food and water to scores of areas isolated by floods that have killed at least 32 people and left nearly 200,000 homeless. Rain continues to fall and meteorologists predict the bad weather could last for weeks. Officials say some areas are experiencing their heaviest rainfall in two decades.

Most victims drowned or were killed in mudslides. The unusually heavy rains that have slammed the region for two months are affecting 10 of Brazil's 26 states, a zone three times Alaska's size. In the hardest-hit state of Maranhao, some rivers were rising as much as 1 foot per day, destroying bridges and making it too dangerous for relief workers to navigate waterways.