May 7, 2009
The death toll from floods in Brazil continued to rise on Wednesday, reaching 32 people and leaving nearly 200,000 displaced or homeless. Ten regions have been affected by several months of heavy rain, with the Atlantic coastal state of Maranhão the hardest hit. The rains have severely damaged northern Brazil’s transportation infrastructure, closing six highways, suspending transport on railways, and stopping the flow of iron ore from Vale’s Carajás mine in Serra dos Carajás (Pará) to its export port in Maranhão. Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA, said in a statement it was working on repairs and would reopen the railway as soon as possible.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited the region on Tuesday, bringing relief supplies and meeting with local governments. Rains are expected to continue for at least two more weeks.