At least 200 people, buried under the latest landslide to hit a slum in Rio de Janeiro's metropolitan area, are feared dead, authorities said today. If confirmed, the deaths would raise the toll sharply from the 153 people already known to have died this week in slides triggered by record rainfall in Brazil. "In our experience, it's an instant death," says a civil defense official.
Some 60 houses were buried in the Morro Bumba slum in Niteroi, which neighbors Rio. The official says the shantytown was built on a mountain of trash that accumulated for decades, making the ground there unstable and vulnerable to giving way. A fire department spokesman said 28 were rescued after the mudslide hit late yesterday, and six bodies have been found so far.