Venezuela

Rains spur deadly mudslides in Venezuela

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Mudslides triggered by unseasonable torrential rains buried poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Thursday, and authorities feared scores of people may have died.
Firefighters reported at least 20 people missing in the city following the landslides, which killed 37 people on Wednesday in a coastal area just north of Caracas. Hundreds of residents from low-income areas and shantytowns also were left homeless as rivers burst their banks.

President Hugo Chavez said on Wednesday night that 37 bodies had been recovered in Vargas state, most of them in La Guaira, a port town 35 miles (55 km) north of Caracas close to the Simon Bolivar international airport.

The main highway linking Caracas to the airport was blocked on Thursday. A state of emergency was decreed in eight of the country's 23 states following the downpour. In Caracas, many streets were impassable, littered with debris and flooded by up to two feet of water, creating huge traffic jams.

Schools were ordered closed for the day, and the underground metro was shut down. "The rainfall in the past two weeks has been the heaviest in 60 years," Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma told the Globovision television network.

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DisasterRelief
DisasterRelief.org is a unique partnership between the American Red Cross, IBM and CNN dedicated to providing information about disasters and their relief operations worldwide. The three-year-old website is a leading disaster news source and also serves as a conduit for those wishing to donate to disaster relief operations around the globe through the international Red Cross movement. American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. The American Red Cross is dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organization that annually provides almost half the nation's blood supply, trains nearly 12 million people in vital life-saving skills, mobilizes relief to victims in more than 60,000 disasters nationwide, provides direct health services to 2.5 million people, assists international disaster and conflict victims in more than 20 countries, and transmits more than 1.4 million emergency messages to members of the Armed Forces and their families. If you would like information on Red Cross services and programs please contact your local Red Cross. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.