Brazilian State Continues Search for Missing in Landslides

Brasilia, Jan 10. -Members of the Civil Defense continue the search for 15 people reported missing in two landslides on Monday morning in Jamapa, Sapucaia, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro.The work was easier because of the absence of rain in the morning in that town, where members of rescue agencies found seven bodies on Monday. Another village resident died in another mudslide.

Throughout the night and early today, firefighters searched for possible survivors among 15 missing residents, who lived in eight houses buried by a landslide.

This is the worst tragedy in the ongoing rainy season in the Southeast Region, the most affected area by the persistent and heavy rainfall in recent weeks.

Despite the incident, the state most affected by the rains is Minas Gerais, where 15 people have died, 36 were injured and over 2.2 million inhabitants in 167 municipalities are affected. In total, 131 households and 112 bridges have been destroyed in the state.

According to the latest report from the Civil Defense of Minas Gerais, 116 towns are in emergency due to floods and landslides, and over 14,000 people lost their homes or had to abandon them.

The ravages caused by rains in that Brazilian region led to a meeting on Monday between President Dilma Rousseff and six ministers to discuss actions to be taken.

After the meeting, the minister of National Integration, Fernando Bezerra, said that Rousseff had determined to set up a National Force of Emergency Technical Support, made up of 35 geologists and 15 hydrologists to prevent natural disasters and rebuild the areas affected by those events.

He added that the Brazilian president also reopened the credits of a national fund of 444 million reales (about 240 million dollars) to mitigate natural disasters.

For his part, Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said that eight tons of medicines will be sent to the affected areas, bringing the total to 12.8 tons distributed by that ministry in the affected states. (Prensa Latina)