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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - At least 12 people died Thursday, December 17th, in floods and landslides sparked by heavy rains in Presidente Getulio, a town in southern Brazil's Santa Catarina, state officials said.

"The situation in Presidente Getulio is critical due to the floods: houses, vehicles, everything destroyed, people with water up to their shoulders," the head of the town's fire department, Alex Lima, said.

Civil defense rescue teams were also searching for 12 missing persons in afflicted neighborhoods, officials said in a statement.

A heavy storm early Thursday battered several towns, some close the city of Florian . . .

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