Storms kill 16 in SE Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO. December 31. KAZINFORM Sixteen people have died in heavy storms that were striking southeastern Brazil this week, authorities said on Thursday. Kazinform refers to Xinhua.

Five of them were killed in Espirito Santo state, with three caught in a mudslide and the other two carried away by floods. The storms affected 63,000 people in 26 municipalities of the state, leaving 17 wounded and 4,900 others homeless, according to local Civil Defense services.

In Minas Gerais state, 11 people were killed in mudslides, including five children and a teenager, while 29 others were injured. Since October when the rainy season began, there have been 14 storm-related deaths in the state.

State of emergency has been declared in 39 of 66 Minas Gerais towns affected by the storms. Over 10,000 people were displaced while several state highways became impassable due to landslides.

Brazil is prone to summer storms which could cause severe damage. In late 2008, a whole month of storms in the southern state of Santa Catarina killed 135 people and left 70,000 others homeless. Kazinform cites Xinhua. See www.xinhuanet.com

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