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Death toll from Brazil storm rises to 16

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – The death toll from torrential downpours that caused flash floods and landslides in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro rose to 16 on Sunday, with three people still missing, authorities said.

Three days of heavy rain hit a wide swath of the southeastern state’s Atlantic coast, the latest in a series of deadly storms in Brazil that experts say are being made worse by climate change.

Rescuers pulled two more bodies Sunday morning from mud and debris left by a landslide in the Monsuaba neighborhood of Angra dos Reis, a seaside town 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of the city of Rio de Janeiro, officials said.

A total of four children and four adults were killed there, the city government said. Rescuers are still looking for three missing people in Monsuaba.

Another landslide in the picturesque colonial town of Paraty killed a mother and six of her children, aged 2 to 17.

A seventh child was rescued alive and taken to hospital, where he was in stable condition, the town hall said.

In the Rio suburb of Mesquita, a 38-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to help another person escape flooding, officials and media said.

President Jair Bolsonaro said on Facebook that the federal government sent military planes to help rescue efforts and sent National Disaster Response Secretary Alexandre Lucas to the state of 17.5 million people.

The new storms come six weeks after flash floods and landslides killed 233 people in the picturesque town of Petropolis, the summer capital of Brazil’s 19th-century empire, also in Rio state.