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Mudslides, Floods Kill 13 in Brazil

December 20, 2000

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Floods and mudslides triggered by two days of heavy rain killed 13 people and drove more than 2,000 from their homes in southeastern Brazil, civil defense officials said on Tuesday.

Although the torrential weekend rains that pounded the states of Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo have subsided, some cities and towns remained isolated because of damaged bridges and flooded highways.

Worst hit was Espirito Santo where seven people were killed by mudslides that swept through hillside shantytowns, civil defense coordinator Jomar Mendonca said by phone.

He said close to 1,900 people had to be moved from their homes to temporary shelter in schools, churches and public buildings.

In the neighboring state of Minas Gerais, mudslides killed four people in low-income neighborhoods on the outskirts of the capital city of Belo Horizonte, according to Marco Antonio Nazareth, head of the local civil defense department there. A 16-year-old girl was also killed when she fell into a river and drowned.

He said the 500 people who had to be evacuated were ``slowly returning to their homes.″

In Sao Paulo state, mudslides forced close to 80 people to evacuate their homes perched on the hills surrounding the port city of Santos. In the neighboring beach resort of Guaruja, one person drowned.

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