Nearly 500 people have been reported killed from floods and landslides in what's being described as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Brazil.
More than 480 people were confirmed dead on January 13 from the disaster in the Serrana region, north of Rio de Janeiro, and it is feared that more victims will be discovered as rescuers arrive in areas that have been cut off because of destroyed roads and bridges.
More than 200 people have been found dead in one town, Teresopolis.
New Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has visited the disaster zone, describing the devastation as "overwhelming" and "shocking."
"We will work with the state government and the city halls in rescue and rebuilding efforts," Rousseff said. "But as the governor told me earlier today during our meeting, we will also carry out preventive measures. We are here to guarantee that the rebuilding is also a measure of prevention. I would like to tell you that this is a very serious moment in the state of Rio de Janeiro."
Rousseff added that she believed the disaster had been made more deadly by the building of unsafe structures in risky areas, and pledged that reconstruction would seek to prevent a tragedy of similar proportions in the future.
compiled from agency reports