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Brazil flooding, landslide death toll hits 44

 
 
 
 
 
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The overflooded Doce River in Vitoria, Espirito Santo state on December 26, 2013.

The death toll for flooding and landslides in southeastern Brazil has reached 44, with thousands of people still displaced, officials say.

According to Civil Defense officials in Espirito Santo, 27 people, including eight on Thursday, lost their lives in the state. A total of 61,379 people were forced to leave their homes.

Espirito Santo Governor Renato Casagrande said on Thursday that the state had been damaged. “We are going to have to rebuild the state.”

Authorities from neighboring Minas Gerais state reported a total of 17 deaths since the flooding started in October. They also said that 4,150 people were forced to evacuate their homes.

Nearly 80 towns have been affected in Minas Gerais.

In both states, heavy rain has flooded entire neighborhoods, destroying several bridges, causing mudslides and leading to the closure of several stretches of road.

Earlier this month, a storm claimed the lives of 16 people and destroyed more than 200 houses in the city of Lajedinho in northeastern state of Bahia.

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