Brazil floods kill at least 33, uproot thousands

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 24 (Reuters) - At least 33 people have been killed in floods in southern Brazil after days of torrential rain that set off mudslides and forced 20,000 from their homes, emergency workers said on Monday.

Teams have been working around the clock using helicopters and motorboats to rescue those left stranded by the floods in southern Catarina state, which caused mudslides that engulfed several homes and isolated four municipalities.

At least 10 people died in Blumenau, where town officials declared a state of emergency late on Sunday. Seven more died in the town of Jaragua do Sul.

"The big challenge on Monday will be supplying the shelters with medicines and food," Blumenau Mayor Joao Paulo Kleinubing said on the Web site of the Civil Defense Agency.

Heavy showers began in the region on Thursday and were beginning to ease.

Brazilian newspapers showed photographs of streets submerged by the floodwaters, which appeared to have reached about waist height. Folha de Sao Paulo said at least one town was rationing water because of purification problems and 250,000 were without power.

The Latin American country is in spring season when rains here are at their heaviest, ending months of usually dry winter weather.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Todd Benson)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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