Swiss dispatch aid experts to Brazil

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Bern is dispatching three relief aid experts to Brazil's flood-hit Nova Friburgo, a town with special ties to Switzerland, the foreign ministry said Saturday.

"They will arrive Sunday evening in Rio de Janeiro and will head in particular to Nova Friburgo, a town founded in 1819 by the Swiss," said the ministry.

The ministry said that the close contact between Nova Friburgo and Switzerland had prompted the aid action.

The experts would evaluate the situation and identify urgent needs, while Switzerland is expecting to reexamine its engagement in the mid-term.

In the statement, the ministry also transmitted Swiss President and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey's condolences to victims' families.

Three days of torrential rains have led to historic flood and landslides that have killed 555 people in Brazil.

At least 249 people have been reported dead in Nova Friburgo -- among the hardest-hit towns, according to civil defense officials.

© 2011 AFP

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