Death toll in Brazil landslides rises to 31

Three bodies were found in eastern Brazil Thursday, bringing to 31 the death toll from landslides caused by heavy rains that lashed a rugged area of Rio de Janeiro state, authorities said.

Petropolis Mayor Rubens Bontempo told a press conference late Wednesday that the heavy downpour late Sunday and Monday caused $60 million in damage.

The deluge in and around Petropolis, located 68 kilometers (42 miles) north of Rio, also left 18 people injured and forced 1,466 people to leave their homes or left them homeless.

Nearly 250 soldiers and Civil Defense officials were mobilized to assist residents of the area where 21 districts are either under water or hit by landslides.

Up to 39 centimeters (15 inches) of rain fell in parts of Petropolis during a 24-hour period, compared to just 27 centimeters expected for all of March.

In January 2011, more than 900 people died in the same area after heavy rains triggered flooding and landslides.