Deaths from Brazil floods, landslides at 361

RIO DE JANEIRO Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:28am EST

1 of 7. An aerial view shows cars in an outdoor garage, which were affected by floods and landslides, in Nova Frigurgo City January 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Bruno Domingos

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The death toll from floods and landslides that devastated a mountainous region near Rio de Janeiro rose to 348 on Thursday, according to authorities in the three worst-affected Brazilian towns.

Heavy rains earlier in the week killed 13 people in Sao Paulo state, raising the death toll in southern Brazil to 361.

Hillsides and riverbanks in the picturesque Serrana region north of Rio collapsed after the equivalent of a month's rain fell in 24 hours, destroying houses and killing many people as they slept early on Wednesday.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed a decree on Wednesday releasing 780 million reais ($460 million) in reconstruction funds for the affected areas. She was due to fly over the region early on Thursday.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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