29 May 2009

Dam in Brazil broken by rains

12:01 pm on 29 May 2009

Heavy rain in northeast Brazil has broken a dam, releasing a wall of water that destroyed 500 houses and killed four people.

State government officials said on Thursday that an estimated 2500 people are homeless.

The breach near the town of Cocal occured on Wednesday. Civil defence officials said in a statement that the Pirangi river rose suddenly, by up to 20 metres in some places.

After visiting the area, state governor Wellington Dias described it as a " real tsunami".

Flooding and mudslides in northeast Brazil over the past few weeks have left 57 people dead.