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Floods, mudslides kill 20 in Brazil

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The house is submerged by floodwater in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais on December 23, 2013.

Brazilian authorities say floods and mudslides caused by heavy rain have killed at least 20 people and forced 40,000 others from their homes in southeastern parts of the country.

The civil defense department of the Minas Gerais state said on its Monday website that 14 people were killed in the region and about 700 others had sought shelter in public buildings or with family or friends.

In the neighboring state of Espirito Santo, authorities said another six people were reported dead and some 40,000 people were forced from their homes by mudslides and high-rising rivers.

The heavy downpours have left more than 6,000 homes either damaged or destroyed.

The state of Espirito Santo recorded on Monday 130 millimeters of rain fallen in the state in the past 24 hours.

On Sunday, 72 National Guardsmen arrived to the state from across the country to assist state authorities, especially in rescue operations.

In both states, the heavy rain has flooded entire neighborhoods, destroying several bridges and caused mudslides, leading to the closure of several stretches of road.

The federal government has sent a helicopter and portable bridges, army troops to the affected area.

The National Secretary of Civil Defense has already authorized the hand-out of 4,000 mattresses, 12,000 liters of drinkable water and 2,000 personal hygiene kits.


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