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Death toll from Brazil floods hits 169

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Sao Paulo: Record rainfall and flooding in southern Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state have claimed 169 lives since the storms hit the state on April 29, the Civil Defense agency said Sunday.

In the last 24 hours, three more bodies were recovered, while 56 people remained missing as a result of the worst natural disaster the state has ever seen, the agency said in its latest report.

More than 2.3 million residents have been displaced by weeks of flooding and overflowing rivers.

Eduardo Leite, governor of Rio Grande do Sul, estimated it would take at least a year to rebuild damaged infrastructure in the state capital, Porto Alegre, and other 469 municipalities.

As weather forecasts have predicted more rain this coming week in Porto Alegre and other major cities in the state, schools will be closed for 48 hours to minimize risks.

Rio Grande do Sul, which borders neighboring Argentina and Uruguay, is an important agricultural hub in Brazil and the top producer of rice in Latin America.

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