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9 dead in Venezuela storms on poll eve
Published on 23 Nov. 2008 12:11 AM IST
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At least nine people died in Venezuela after hours of torrential rain that set off landslides and flooding, on the eve of local elections seen as a test of President Hugo Chavez’s popularity. Four died and a fifth was missing in the capital Caracas, where 73 homes were damaged, mainly in slums perched on hills around the city, said Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami. Two of the dead were small children dragged away by flood waters in a Caracas slum, said fire chief Delio Martinez. A 17-year-old pregnant girl and her baby brother died in a landslide in Zulia state, the head of civil defense said there. More were feared dead in other states, including western Trujillo where two bridges collapsed. Venezuela’s rainy season sometimes ends in October but heavy rain has pounded the country through November and is forecast to continue in the next 48 hours, with elections for 22 governors and 328 mayors due Sunday. Torrential rains and mudslides in Vargas, north of Caracas, in December 1999, killed more than 10,000 people.

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