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Brazil’s president surveying flood-hit areas

June 24th, 2010

In this photo released by Agencia Brasil, homes lay in ruins after heavy rains*

RIO LARGO, Brazil – Brazil’s president is flying over a vast stretch of the nation’s northeast where floods killed 45 people and destroyed towns, roads and bridges.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will get a firsthand look at the destruction — and residents are hoping that means more help and aid is on the way.

Civil Defense officials say that 600 people are still listed as missing, but most of those are presumed to be safe, just unable to contact families or authorities because energy is still out and telephone service down.

Brazil’s government is releasing $56 million in immediate aid, but getting food, water, clothes and medicine to the hardest-hit areas is proving difficult.

Residents are holed up in schools, churches and any other standing buildings.

*Picture: In this photo released by Agencia Brasil, homes lay in ruins after heavy rains triggered flooding in the city of Barreiros in Pernambuco state, Brazil, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Rescuers searched Wednesday for 600 people declared missing after torrential floods ripped through cities in northeastern Brazil. The death toll rose to 44 after three bodies were found overnight. (AP Photo/Antonio Cruz, Agencia Brasil)

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