Death Toll Rises To 549 In Brazil Flooding


The death toll from flooding caused by torrential rains in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state rose to 549 people Saturday, Brazil's official news agency reported.

Most of the deaths were reported in the cities of Nova Friburgo and Teresopolis, located in a mountainous region northeast of Rio, according to Agencia Brasil.

Rescuers have not been able to reach some hard-hit areas and many more people are feared dead, the agency said Friday.

The rain is predicted to continue for several days in areas already submerged in water or slathered with mud.

Thousands of families are still living on mountain slopes or on riverbanks and face extreme risk of being washed away. One resident described the disaster as a tsunami that fell from the sky.

Chaos reigned in the especially hard-hit city of Teresopolis, where some residents donned masks and helped clean streets or deliver first aid. Others combed the city, searching desperately for missing loved ones. Schools and police stations turned into overflowing morgues, where people waited to identify their family and friends.

Municipal worker Reginald de Oliveira came to see if he could find the body of his uncle, missing in the floods. He was trying to save his family when a wall of water washed him away.