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Flooding in Brazil leaves 6 dead, 12 missing and thousands homeless

January 25, 1997

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Three days of torrential rain flooded towns and plantations in southern Brazil, killing at least six people and driving more than 11,000 from their homes, civil defense workers said Friday.

Besides the confirmed dead, 12 people swept from a bridge into the Ribeira River on Thursday are still missing, police said in Registro, about 120 miles southwest of Sao Paulo.

Flooding hit 11 cities and towns in the Ribeira River valley in southern Sao Paulo state, police Capt. Ricardo Jaco said. Two deaths were confirmed there and more than 8,000 people forced to leave their homes.

In Parana state south of Sao Paulo, four people drowned and some 3,500 were evacuated, officials said.

Among the worst hit was Eldorado, a town of 13,000 in Sao Paulo’s banana belt. Water covered streets and fields, with only red tile roofs and an occasional satellite dish poking out of the muddy water.

``There’s no point of reference there. There’s no nothing,″ Nilson Lara of the civil defense in Registro said.

Fishermen in boats helped stranded families to shelters in schools and public buildings.

The rain stopped on Friday.

Earlier this month, a month’s worth of rain fell in a week on the state of Minas Gerais north of Sao Paulo, killing at least 81 people and forcing more than 43,000 people from their homes.

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