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Dozens die in Brazilian mudslides

As many as 31 people have died in floods and mudslides in north-eastern Brazil, officials said.

Mudslides hit vulnerable areas in two states where shacks are often built on hillsides, after heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks.

19 people have been killed in Alagoas state, civil defence officials said, and there are still dozens missing. The floods have driven at least 80,000 people from their homes.

In Pernambuco state, officials say 12 people have died and 42,000 people are homeless.

However, the number of known deaths could rise because many areas have been cut off due to cuts in power and phone service.

In May 2009, flooding in the same area killed at least 44 people and displaced 380,000.

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