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Sao Paulo, March 12 (IANS/EFE) A rainstorm that struck the Sao Paulo metropolitan area has left at least 21 people dead, a dozen injured and several cities flooded, official sources reported on Friday.

Four people died in the Sao Paulo suburb of Mairipora including a little boy, while another seven were injured in a mudslide on Thursday night on a hill where several houses were being built.

Firefighters originally reported that five people had died in that town, though hours later they corrected their account and reduced the number of victims to four.

Authorities told local media that eight people have gone missing in Mairipora, a municipality of some 80,000 inhabitants.

In Francisco de Morato, another city in the Sao Paulo metropolitan region, eleven more people died in a mudslide and several local residents had to be rescued, while in Itapevi another two died under the same circumstances.

Another two people were drowned in the town of Guarulhos and another two in Cajamar.

Firefighters worked through the early hours at different points around Sao Paulo, many of which were flooded due to the heavy rains that caused canals and rivers to overflow.

Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport was closed for six hours by the storm, though operations have started up again, and since the trains had stopped running, dozens of passengers were left stranded at railroad stations without any means of transport for getting back to their homes.

Authorities advised people living in high-risk areas to evacuate their homes because more rain and the possibility of mudslides are forecast for the coming days.

A score of cities in the Sao Paulo metropolitan region have been affected by the storm. (IANS)

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