Flooding leaves 180,000 homeless in Brazil

May 6th, 2009 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Brasilia, May 6 (EFE) Severe flooding in Brazil has left about 180,000 people homeless and caused at least 15 deaths.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva flew over the flood affected areas in northeast Brazil Tuesday and told people not to despair.

“This is not the time to despair,” he told mayors of several cities affected by the flooding during a meeting in Teresina, the capital of the state of Piaui.

Lula asked the officials to “take advantage” of the disaster to plan a new distribution of the region’s population to remove people from risk-prone areas and build houses in safer zones.

“We have to see where it is that the water rose more, leave the houses that are there and build others where nobody is in danger,” he said.

The rains have been lashing Brazil’s north and northeast for the past two weeks. Authorities says the hardest-hit states are Maranhao and Piaui.

The forecast by the weather office was not very encouraging, as it predicted that the rains would continue for at least 10 more days.

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