The death toll from the collapse of two apartment buildings in Rio de Janeiro has risen to 10, Brazilian officials said Monday, as rescuers search the rubble for 14 people still missing. Another 10 people were wounded when the adjacent structures in the poor neighbourhood of Muzema buckled on Friday morning when many of the occupants would have been asleep or eating breakfast.
Rescuers are working around the clock with the help of sniffer dogs in the hope of finding more survivors. The buildings collapsed three days after torrential rain wreaked havoc in the city.
Sections of the road leading up to the hillside favela, which is at the foot of a sheer cliff face, had been washed away, complicating rescue efforts. Many of the cheaply made apartment towers in Muzema were erected without permission from city planning authorities.
Like many poor neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Muzema is run by shadowy militias that use violence to enforce their rule. They sell land rights and control access to city services such as water and electricity.
Authorities have pledged to demolish some of the surrounding buildings in Muzema to prevent further collapses. But residents complained that Muzema and surrounding neighbourhoods had long been neglected by the Rio de Janeiro government. As soon as illegal buildings were demolished, new ones were built in their place, they said.
(With inputs from agencies.)