The Associated Press, Dec . 31, 2009
RIO DE JANEIRO - Heavy rains in the Rio de Janeiro area have triggered mudslides that have killed at least 18 people.
Rio de Janeiro state's Office of Civil Defense says that more deaths are likely as more rains are expected.
The deaths in the past 24 hours come as about 2 million people are preparing to gather along Copacabana beach to ring in the New Year.
Officials said Thursday that most of the deaths occurred as shanties collapsed under mud or rain in the greater Rio de Janeiro city area, but some deaths have been reported in more sparsely populated areas.
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