More Than 500 Dead in Brazil Landslides, Floods

And the rain that caused them hasn't stopped
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2011 8:22 AM CST

(Newser) – Torrential rains continued to pour down on Brazil’s Serrana region today, fueling floods and mudslides that have now killed at least 529 people—a total that’s expected to rise, as rescuers continue to uncover new bodies. “The rain did not stop at dawn and is continuing in the morning, which is making the rescue efforts more difficult,” one fireman told Reuters. “The number of deaths is going to rise quite a bit.”

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The disaster has caused billions in property damage, and left more than 13,500 homeless. Military police have been deployed to the area, following reports of looting. There was one bright spot today, however, as rescuers saved a 6-month-old baby from the wreckage of a house. Newly sworn-in president Dilma Rousseff has earmarked 780 million reais ($460 million) in emergency aid. She blamed Brazil’s housing policy for making high-risk homes “the rule in Brazil, rather than the exception.” (Read more Brazil stories.)

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