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The death toll from floods and landslides in the mountainous area near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janiero has risen to at least 727, officials say.

In towns north of the city, where the deadly mudslides struck, a break in rain allowed rescuers to step up delivery of supplies to isolated areas. They also recovered bodies on Wednesday, increasing the death toll.

Navy officers and doctors hiked up to the devastated neighbourhood of Alta Floresta in the city of Nova Friburgo, where they distributed fresh water and food, and treated the injured.

Last week's rains caused severe landslides and major destruction in at least seven cities in Rio de Janeiro state's mountain region.

Government assistance

The government has approved $5 million in federal funding for Nova Friburgo, $13 million for Petropolis and more than $72  for the stricken city of Teresopolis.

The money will be used to rebuild homes and shore up areas at risk from mudslides.

In addition, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's president, signed a measure last week, sending an additional $461 million to towns in Rio and Sao Paulo states that were damaged during the rains.

The money will go towards repairing infrastructure and preventing future disasters.

Heavy rains, common during Brazil's summer wet season, were intensified this week by a cold front which doubled the usual precipitation.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies