* Lula cancels G20 appearance; said to be shocked by floods
* Flood region is a vote stronghold ahead of Oct election
* Finance Minister Mantega to represent Brazil at G20
(Recasts, adds more flood details)
By Natuza Nery
TORONTO, June 25 Brazilian President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva will skip the Group of 20 leaders summit
in Toronto this weekend to deal with the aftermath of severe
flooding in northeastern Brazil that has killed 51 people.
The northeast region is a political stronghold for Lula's
government ahead of presidential elections in October in which
the popular Lula wants Brazilians to elect his former chief of
staff, Dilma Rousseff.
"He doesn't want to be away from Brazil at this difficult
moment," a source from Brazil's G20 delegation said on Friday.
The government later confirmed that Lula would miss the
The Brazilian source said that Lula, whose home state of
Pernambuco is one of those affected by the disaster, had been
shocked by the destruction he saw when flying over flooded
areas on Thursday.
The G20 is meeting Saturday and Sunday to seek a consensus
on how quickly to shrink government deficits, how best to
strengthen banks so that they can withstand any new downturn,
and how to harmonize financial regulatory reforms.
Brazil is one of the rising powers among the world's
emerging economies that have helped lead a global recovery from
recession. Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega will
instead represent Brazil at the summit.
The floods in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco have
killed at least 51 people and devastated many towns that were
struck by torrents of water from burst river dams. The state of
Alagoas initially said that about 600 people were missing, but
had revised that figure down to 76 by Friday.
The G20 groups the world's biggest economies and covers
two-thirds of the world's population. It includes Australia,
Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Korea,
Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and China in addition to the
big European economies, the United States and Canada.
(Additional reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo; Writing
by Jason Lange and Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Mario Di