| Updated at: 0037 PST, Sunday, January 16, 2011|
TERESOPOLIS: Brazil Saturday declared three days of national mourning for nearly 560 people killed near Rio de Janeiro this week in the country's worst flood disaster on record.
Emergency workers in the disaster zone, in the Serrana region just north of Rio, were overwhelmed by the body count. Refrigerator trucks had to be brought in to store corpses.
Workers transporting bodies said they feared the overall death toll could more than double as rescuers reached outlying hamlets.
President Dilma Rousseff declared the three days of mourning, government news agency Agencia Brasil reported. Rio de Janeiro state authorities said their state will observe a full week of mourning starting Monday.
As of late Saturday, the toll stood at 558, with the worst-hit towns being Teresopolis, Nova Friburgo and Petropolis. Outlying villages also reported deaths.
"I think in the end we'll see more than 1,000 bodies," said a funeral worker in Teresopolis, Mauricio Berlim. "In one village near here, Campo Grande, there were 2,500 homes and not one is left standing," Berlim said.
Authorities also made an urgent appeal for donations of blood, bottled water, food and medicine.
At least four refrigerated trucks were parked out the front of an overflowing makeshift morgue inside a church in Teresopolis.