Brazil has declared three days of national mourning for the now more than 600 people killed by floods and massive landslides.
The death toll has risen so fast that bulldozers are being used in a cemetery in the devastated city
of Nova Friburgo to make space to bury the victims.
And time is of the essence, amid fears that epidemics could break out as bodies decompose in the heat and stagnant water.
“So far, we have buried 15 people and we expect to bury 65 more by the end of today,” said cemetery administrator Rui Almeida. “There is a legal order for us to bury everybody today by 5pm, whether the person has been identified or not.”
Amid heavy rains, a surge of water, mud and rocks tore a path of destruction through the mountainous region, north of Rio de Janeiro. With their homes in ruins, many survivors are now struggling to find food, water and medicine.
For new President Dilma Rousseff, dealing with one of Brazil’s worst natural disasters ever is an early and major test.