Rains, flooding wreak havoc in Brazil
February 19, 1998
Web posted at: 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 GMT)
SAO PAOLO, Brazil (CNN) -- Three people were killed and hundreds were stranded as El Niño-driven rains wreaked havoc in coastal Rio de Janeiro state.
The northern part of the state was particularly hard hit, and an estimated 3,000 people were left homeless by the flooding.
Parts of roads were washed away and others were submerged by reddish brown water, snarling traffic and bringing neighborhoods to a standstill.
In Sao Paolo, people carried their children through
waist-deep water and sought vainly to keep the surging water out of their homes.
Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo regularly suffer flooding from seasonal rains, coupled with mudslides and traffic congestion.
But the unusually heavy rains this year, blamed on the El Niño weather phenomenon that has also brought heavy rain and flooding to Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and California, have made things worse than usual and forced authorities to set up makeshift camps for those driven from their homes.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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