Rains cause deadly landslides in Petropolis, Brazil

Media caption,
The aftermath of the landslides in the city of Petropolis

At least 27 people have been killed in landslides in a mountainous area north of Rio de Janeiro, after heavy rains.

The landslides hit the city of Petropolis, about 40 miles (65km) north of Rio, after a river burst its banks and flooded the city centre.

A baby and two emergency workers are among the victims, authorities say.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said more "drastic measures" may be needed to remove people living in areas of risk who ignore warnings.

"Our prevention system warns the people," she told Brazilian media in Rome after a meeting the head of Food and Agriculture Organization, fellow Brazilian Jose Graziano.

"What I think is that a little more drastic measures will have to be taken so people don't stay where they are not supposed to be."

More rain

An emergency task group of the Brazilian National Force has been sent to the region to assist local authorities.

Authorities say some areas had as much as 300mm of rain in 24 hours, whilst the normal monthly average for this time of year is around 270mm.

At least 50 people are believed to have lost their homes.

The area around Petropolis has seen deadly landslides before - 900 people were killed in an incident in 2011.

The BBC's Julia Carneiro in Rio says promises from the authorities to invest in measures to prevent similar landslides were not fully implemented.

The city remains on high alert and further heavy rain is forecast. Schools are closed and residents have been told to stay in their homes.

Brazilian television has broadcast pictures showing houses destroyed and roads blocked by the landslides.