Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The loyal dog who refuses to leave his owner's muddy graveside as Brazil mudslides death toll tops 630


Vigil: Leao sits for a second consecutive day next to the grave of his owner Cristina Maria Cesario Santana

After the deluge of photographs showing devastated landcapes, this scene is one which perhaps sums up the loss floods have brought to Brazil.

As the mudslides death toll hits 630, a loyal dog refuses to leave the muddy graveside of its owner.

Leao cuts a pitiful figure beside the grave of Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in Teresópolis, one of the areas hardest hit by last week's natural disaster.

Renewed rainfall was slowing rescue helicopters today in south-east Brazil as officials focused their attention on the survivors they could reach more immediately, mapping out a plan to get people living in tents in the short term.

Grim toll: Workers at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio, have dug dozens of graves for landslide victims

The mayor of Teresópolis, Jorge Mario Sedlacek, said that more than 2,000 tents were being brought in, each capable of sheltering up to 10 people.

'They will give families shelter for up to six months while more permanent solutions can be developed,' Mr Sedlacek said.

'These tents will at least re-establish the family units, which will bring some comfort to people living in communal shelters.'

Grounded: Rescue workers were forced to return to their helicopter as the rains came down again, making it hard to search for mudslide victims

That could come as good news to people like Magda Brito Silveira, who said she was near her breaking point trying to run her family of six children after five chaotic days in a crowded gymnasium-turned-shelter.

'We have nowhere else to go, no resources,' she said. 'I am trying to keep the children clean, to feed them, to make sure we're all together. But I can't hold on like this much longer.'

A local business has offered land on which to set up the tents, and crews began working to level the ground, Mr Sedlacek said.

Desperate: A resident attempts to save some potatoes from floods in Nova Friburgo, near Rio de Janeiro

Chaos: Residents walk by a crater that engulfed a vehicle in a destroyed street in Nova Friburgo

Saved: Rescue workers manage to pull a white rabbit up and save it from the mudlides

source: dailymail

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