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Latino Daily News

Sunday January 16, 2011

Death Toll in Rio Storms above 600, Fear of Disease Outbreaks also Rise

Death Toll in Rio Storms above 600, Fear of Disease Outbreaks also Rise

Photo: Brazil Floods

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Brazil’s Civil Defense agency has raised the death toll to 611 as fears mount of more storms and disease outbreaks.

Five days after rains lead to massive landslides rescuers are still digging up bodies buried by rivers of mud. Efforts have been hampered by rain on Saturday and more predicted for Sunday.

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s new president visited the region on Thursday and pledged a swift relief effort but that has yet to pan out in some of the hardest-hit areas. Anger from survivors so far has been directed mostly at state and local authorities. The federal government has earmarked 780 million reais ($463.5 million) in emergency aid and Rousseff declared three days of mourning.

State health authorities have warned the population about diseases that could be contracted by drinking or other contact with contaminated rainwater. The Civil Defense agency has also distributed vaccines against tetanus and diphtheria, according to its website.