Rescue workers recover the body of a mudslide victim in Jamapara, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Tuesday Jan. 10, 2012. Heavy rains caused mudslides that killed at least eight people in Rio de Janeiro state Monday, raising the number of dead in Rio and neighboring Minas Gerais state to 23 so far this year, and up to 20 other people are still missing, according to civil defense officials. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

AXA

BRAZIL-MUDSLIDES-DEATHS

RIO DE JANEIRO January 13 Sapa-dpa

FLOODS, MUDSLIDES LEAVE 39 DEAD IN SOUTH-EASTERN BRAZIL

A total of at least 39 people have died in Brazil's South-East region in floods and mudslides during the rainy season that started in late October, the authorities said.

Most of the deaths have happened since the beginning of the year.

In the town of Sapucaia, some 150 kilometres north-east of Rio de Janeiro, rescue teams retrieved 22 bodies from the mud after an avalanche that buried several houses earlier this week. Rescue efforts were called off late Thursday.

A further two people were reported dead elsewhere in the state of Rio de Janeiro, while in the neighbouring state of Minas Gerais rain-related incidents claimed 15 lives and left three people missing.

In many towns rivers have flowed over their banks in recent weeks. Trees have been uprooted by flood water, while a dike broke last week in Campos de Goytacazes, in the state of Rio.

In Minas Gerais, 153 towns have decreed a state of emergency since October, and around 50,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes for fear of floods and mudslides. More than 4,000

people have been left homeless.

In January 2011, more than 900 people died in rain-related disasters in the mountainous area of the state of Rio de Janeiro.Author: Helmut Reuter

Sapa-dpa

/aw 01/13/12 18-53