29 Jan 2011

Free houses promised for flood victims

6:29 pm on 29 January 2011

Brazil is going to build 8000 houses to give free to poor people made homeless by floods and landslides in Rio de Janeiro state this month.

President Dilma Rousseff said 6000 homes would be paid for by the state and federal governments.

The other 2000 would be donated by a consortium of construction companies.

Ms Rousseff said there would also be heavy investment in flood prevention measures.

More than 830 people died in the floods and landslides in a mountainous region north of Rio de Janeiro. Another 540 people are still missing.

Ms Rousseff said the new houses would be given to families living in shelters after their homes were destroyed and to those who were being removed from areas considered at risk of further flooding and landslides.

She said the government was also acting to prevent any repeat of the disaster, by mapping out areas that were prone to flooding and landslides and clamping down on unauthorised building in danger zones.

The BBC reports federal money is also being made available to rebuild roads and bridges and fund drainage and hillside stabilisation projects.