Floods Leave 121,000 Homeless in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Tropical rainstorms have flooded the homes of 121,000 people in the northeastern states of Maranhao and Ceara, officials said Thursday.
Francisco Albuquerque of the Maranhao Interior Department said by telephone that heavy rainfall since late February had driven at least 81,000 people from their homes and overflowing rivers had blocked roads and bridges.
In neighboring Ceara, Ines Prata of the state Interior Department said by telephone that about 40,000 people were homeless.
Maranhao and Ceara are normally considered to be in a drought zone.
Ms. Prata said many flood victims in Ceara are farmers who left during a 1978-1985 drought in which 250,000 people died. She said many farmers returned when rains fell again and built new homes near rivers to be close to the water they needed for irrigating crops.