Landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 24 people
in the mountains above Rio de Janeiro and prompted Brazilian
President Dilma Rousseff to call for tougher action to
eradicate precarious dwellings.
Firemen on Friday recovered the bodies of three children who
were swept away by floods in the worst hit neighbourhood
called Quitandinha, a suburb of Petropolis, where dozens of
homes were demolished by the landslides.
Most of the dead, including two civil defense rescuers, were
buried under landslides caused by 420 mm of rain that fell on
the mountainous region in just 24 hours, almost double the
rainfall average for the month of March in the area.
Rousseff, who is in Rome for the investiture of Pope Francis,
said Brazilian authorities will have to take "more drastic"
measures to stop people building homes in dangerous places.
"We have offered people conditions to move away from areas
that are at risk, but they always refuse to move," Rousseff
told reporters in Italy. "So we will have to be tougher."
Floods and landslides killed about 1,000 people in the
mountain region north of Rio de Janeiro in 2011 in the worst
natural disaster on record in Brazil.
Works promised by local authorities to prevent new disasters
have not materialized, though sirens installed in the region
helped reduce the number of deaths this year, officials say.