In Brazil, floods have killed more than three hundred people and inundated about two hundred cities and towns after heavy rain.
In Brazil, floods have killed more than three hundred people and inundated about two hundred cities and towns after heavy rain. Southern states are most seriously affected.
SYNOPSIS: Heavy rains since the beginning of January have brought crisis to thousands of square miles (kilometres) over several states. The Brazilian Air Force has flown food and medicine to the worst hit areas.
About two hundred cities and towns have been flooded, with many of them losing all contact with the outside world. In this state of Minas Gerais an estimated 54,500 people are homeless. Major road routes are cut, and communications have been served over wide areas. Emergencies have been declared in the states of Minas Gerais and neighbouring Espiritu Santo. Many towns are without electricity or gas.
The deep surging waters have left towns deserted and caused a health hazard. The authorities are vaccinating thousands of people for fear that polluted water might cause a typhoid epidemic.
Stranded people have been forced to survive by eating fruit from frees and drinking rainwater.
Where the water is less deep, people wade through the streets. They are short of all the normal necessities, including food, fresh water, shelter and transport, although those with canoes find the going easier.
In the southern areas of the country, the causes of the crisis have been the rain-swollen San Francisco and Jequitihonha Rivers. With the destruction of crops and vital links, shortages caused by the floods were expected to endure for mothers after the waters recede.