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17 Jan 11
The mountain areas of Nova Friburgo, Teresópolis and Itaipava have been destroyed by flooding, bringing the total number of deaths during this months disaster to nearly 700. The authorities fear that many more are dead, buried in landslides or washed away by gushing waters. Thousands of families that live on these mountain slopes, or on the riverbanks face the extreme risk of being washed away in the heavy rains.
The Institute of Meteorology forecasts rain for the whole month of January, with continued storms around the affected cities. The new president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, flew over the affected areas and promised to take firm action and pledged a financial aid package of approximately 1 billion reais for the destroyed cities and the America Embassy have also donated US$ 100 million. The main problem now surrounds disease, which is spreading throughout the cities.
The army has been deployed to set up mobile hospitals and to clear blocked roads which have forced rescuers to reach some of the worst hit areas on foot. Telephone and internet access is down, hampering rescue attempts.
Industry around Rio de Janeiro is also quite heavy and concentrated and we anticipate some related losses through flooding in the days and weeks to come.
Cunningham Lindsey in Brazil has a large team on the ground ready to assist with any potential losses. If we are able to be of any assistance, please contact the following:
Martin Faller (Brazil)
Ben Price (London)