A child pushes a bicycle on a flooded street in Duque de Caxias, Brazil. [Bruna Prado/AP Photo]

Torrential rains that turned avenues into rivers have killed at least 11 people in Brazil.

The storm hit northern parts of Rio de Janeiro particularly hard, the Fire Department said on 14 January. People in the area died in landslides, drownings and electrocutions.

Firefighters were still searching for a woman who went missing after her car fell into a river as of the evening of 14 January.

Water from the storm reached the roofs of cars on some stretches of Avenida de Brasil, a major thoroughfare in the city.

Mayor Eduardo Paes decreed the situation an “emergency” and urged people to stay at home for their own safety and to avoid disrupting rescue and recovery efforts.

A dozen bus lines shut down and several metro stations were closed because of water on the tracks.

Some parts of the city received a month’s worth of the usual level of rain in January in just 24 hours. A report from firefighters showed they had responded to 200 storm-related events.

In Acari, one of the worst affected neighbourhoods, waters flooded the basement offices of the Ronaldo Gazolla Municipal Hospital and businesses were hit hard.

“I arrived at work and everything was flooded. Every year the same thing happens when it rains hard here, it turns into a pool, a lagoon,” said Alexandre Gomes, trying to remove water from the store where she works.

A national agency that monitors natural disasters said there was a high risk of landslides in eight towns in the surrounding Rio de Janeiro state.

Children carry belongings in a flooded area, in the Pedreira slum complex, Rio de Janeiro. [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes has announced a state of emergency. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government has offered federal support. [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

Damaged caused by floods in the Acari slum complex, Rio de Janeiro. [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

A man walks on debris of a collapsed house in Pedreira. [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

Flooded streets in Duque de Caxias. [Bruna Prado/AP Photo]

People wade through a flooded street Duque de Caxias. [Bruna Prado/AP Photo]

Heloisa Regina walks inside her flooded bar in Duque de Caxias. [Bruna Prado/AP Photo]

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