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Floods, Mudslides Kill At Least 65

Mon., Jan. 6, 1997

The death toll rose to 65 on Sunday from a rainy torrent that sent mudslides and floods crashing through communities in southeastern Brazil. Authorities said 21,000 people were left homeless.

Storms washed out bridges, flooded highways and swelled rivers, causing them to overflow their banks. Electrical power was knocked out to thousands.

The rains were in a sixth day Sunday in Minas Gerais state and show no signs of letting up.

“Our information is that the rains are going to continue,” police Lt. Andrea Mara said in a telephone interview from the state capital of Belo Horizonte.

Across the state, people were seeking shelter in churches and schools, while hospitals were filled with the injured. Floodwaters contaminated drinking water in some towns.

The rainy season in Minas Gerais - December and January - has been far wetter than normal. Weather officials said the state has received more rain in the first days of 1997 than in all of January last year.

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