More than 30 dead from heavy rains in Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez says more than 30 people have been killed in floods and landslides in Venezuela, and he is pledging to speed construction of public housing to help thousands of evacuees.

Speaking to evacuees on Thursday, Chavez said they would receive homes and vowed to accelerate construction of public housing projects in the Caracas area.

Chavez said the government was assisting more than 15,000 families that fled homes amid torrential rains. He said the government has more than 300 disaster shelters open across the country.

The heavy rains during the past month have continued well past the usual end of the wet season in Venezuela.