Image: Homes exposed by mudslide
Fernando Llano  /  AP
Some homes were destroyed and others left exposed by mudslides in this shanty town in Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday.
updated 11/21/2008 8:22:51 PM ET 2008-11-22T01:22:51

Heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in Venezuela that killed at least nine people, including five children, authorities said Friday.

The victims following Thursday's downpours included two girls, 9 and 11, who died in a mudslide that hit a poor Caracas neighborhood. They were among at least four killed in the capital, while one woman was missing, Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami said.

Officials reported at least five more victims in other parts of the country, including a 10-year-old boy and a pregnant 17-year-old who were buried by a landslide in western Zulia state.

The five children killed included one teenager, a 15-year-old boy swept away by a flooding river in north-central Aragua state.

The rains flooded streets, toppled trees and set off torrents of water and earth that damaged homes and hindered rescue crews in some areas.

The storm damaged 300 families' homes in the western state of Trujillo, regional disaster official Brendy Santos said.

President Hugo Chavez appealed for calm on Thursday, saying authorities are mounting an organized response.

Mudslides blocked hillside roads in Caracas, and some parked cars were smashed by collapsed walls and debris.

The rains let up Friday, allowing crews with bulldozers to begin clearing blocked roads. The forecast called for more rain over the weekend.

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