by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Jan 5, 2012
A dike burst in Brazil's flood-hit northern Rio de Janeiro state Thursday, forcing the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, authorities said.
Rising water levels on the Muriae river due to the torrential rains of the past few days caused the rupture of a bridge that serves as a dike protecting the town of Campos do Goytacazes, rescue officials said.
"We have evacuated about 1,000 families (roughly 4,000 people) who have been brought to the fire department barracks and municipal shelters," firefighter Joaquim Silva told reporters.
The rising waters destroyed part of the bridge and opened a hole of nearly 20 meters (60 feet), flooding the Tres Vendas area in a matter of hours.
Silva said the residents were warned in time and many families were able to salvage some of their belongings.
Aerial television pictures showed the slow advance of flood waters and residents fleeing the area.
Authorities said the water rose between 3.5 and four meters (11 to 13 feet).
"From the houses, only the roofs were visible," said Henrique Oliveira, of the local Civil Defense.
Floods caused by heavy rains have left eight people dead and forced the evacuation of more than 15,000 people in the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, officials said.
Exactly a year ago, flooding and landslides left more than 1,000 people dead or missing in the mountainous area of Rio de Janeiro state.
Dutch villagers evacuated over flood risk
But the dyke at the village of Tolbert near the city of Groningen was expected to hold, Judith de Jong, a spokeswoman for the Dutch department of highways and bridges, told AFP.
"We no longer expect the dyke to give way but it also depends on the wind," she said.
Local authority spokesman Michiel Zijlstera told AFP that eventually 10 people had been evacuated from the village. He had earlier put the number at 100.
But the situation remained "critical," he added, warning that strong winds were predicted late at night.
Gale force winds reaching up to 110 kilometres (about 70 miles) an hour as well as heavy rains are expected along the Dutch coast. About a quarter of the country sits below sea level.
The provinces of Groningen, North Holland and Friesland were under special alert and maritime traffic was badly disrupted at Rotterdam, one of Europe's biggest ports where some 430 million tonnes of goods pass through annually.
"Eleven vessels wanted to leave the port and two wanted to enter but were unable to do so because of the heavy wind," said port spokesman Minco van Heezen.
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Death toll mounts in Brazil floods
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Jan 2, 2012
Two more people died and one was missing Monday following flooding in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais that brought the total death toll to four, civil defense officials said. A 38-year-old man died in the state capital, Belo Horizonte, when his two-story house collapsed in the flooding while his wife was rescued from the rubble, they said. Also found dead in the courtyar ... read more
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