Rio floods, mudslides kill 192 with toll expected to rise

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rio flood death toll hits 192, expected to rise

RIO DE JANEIRO — The death toll from floods and landslides around the Rio de Janeiro area this week reached 192 and was expected to rise further as searchers continued looking Friday for bodies, authorities said.

Morning and afternoon downpours threatened to set off new slides as emergency crews used excavating equipment to search for victims at the most devastated site — a slum built atop a garbage dump that was buried by a landslide.

Crews have pulled 17 bodies from the debris so far at the site in Niteroi, next to Rio. Authorities fear the death toll from the Niteroi slide alone could be as many as 200, though it was not clear exactly how many people were buried beneath the mud.

The latest confirmed death toll of 192 was released in a statement by Rio de Janeiro state’s civil defense department. It said 162 people were injured.

Most of the victims were swept away in landslides that roared through slums built on steep, unstable hillsides.

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