Torrents, Mudslides in Rio de Janeiro, 95 Killed

As many as 95 people have been killed in floods and landslides caused by the heaviest rains in decades in Rio de Janeiro state, said media reports.

During the round-the-clock torrents, shacks in Rio’s hillside slums were swept away by mudslides, turning the city’s main lake and the sea brown, said reports.

Morning flights in and out of the city was cancelled or seriously delayed and, power and transport was cut off in many neighbourhoods, reports said.

Rio, a city of six million people, is scheduled to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Officials said that most victims were killed in over 180 mudslides, while a spokesman for Rio’s fire service said that nearly 40 injured persons were hospitalized as the search for others reported missing was on, said reports.

“The situation is critical. Roads are flooded and blocked,” Mayor Eduardo Paes was quoted as saying. “We recommend people stay at home.”

Talking to reporters, Paes said that at least 26 people were killed in the Rio metropolitan area while the fire service put the toll across the state at 89, reports said.

He said that 10,000 houses were at risk, most of them in slums where about a fifth of Rio’s people live, often in precarious huts that are highly vulnerable to heavy rains, said reports.

The Monday’s downpour is the worst Rio has recorded in 30 years.

The southern hemisphere summer has been particularly hot and rainy in Rio this year.

(Based on internet reports)

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