More than 500 die in Brazil floods

Brazil's worst natural disaster in decades has killed more than 500 people

Devastating floods and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil have resulted in thousands being made homeless and over 500 people being killed.

Police say the number of casualties is likely to rise further.

The tragedy was set off by a month’s rain in 24 hours, destroying houses and burying families as it swept through the mountainous Serrana region.

Yesterday, dozens of dead bodies lined the streets just outside a police station as Brazilians struggled to deal with the tragedy as it continued to unfold.

Terrified residents have even been seen staggering through the streets, holding dead youngsters in their arms. Hundreds more are missing.

‘People are walking in the street crying,’ said taxi driver Vinicius Bittencourt, who works near Rio de Janeiro. ‘I’ve seen people carrying dead children wrapped in blankets.’

The scene was replicated all over the region, with rescue teams saying that they are yet to reach the worst hit areas. They will continue to search for survivors in the mountainous Serrana area throughout the weekend.

‘It’s very overwhelming. The scenes are very shocking,’ said President Rousseff on her visit to the area on Thursday.

The day before, she signed a decree authorizing 780m reais (£296m) in emergency funding for the affected areas.

More heavy rain is forecast for the coming days, increasing the risk of further mudslides.

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