5 Jan 2012

Floods hit south-east Brazil

3:55 pm on 5 January 2012

Floods and landslides caused by heavy rain in south-east Brazil have killed at least six people and forced thousands from their homes.

A total of 66 towns cities in Minas Gerais state have declared a state of emergency.

Two taxi drivers died when a bus station was destroyed by a landslide.

Floodwaters are also threatening hillside communities in Rio de Janeiro state that were devastated a year ago

Brazil's Civil Defence says, nation-wide, more than 2 million people have been affected by this year's rains.

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated, and 3,000 homes have been destroyed.

IN 2011, floods killed more than 800 people in what officials said was the worst natural disaster ever experienced by Brazil.

Since then, the BBC says, the government has set up an early warning system to monitor weather rainfall and ensure people evacuate before floods strike.