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Brasilia (AFP) Dec 26, 2013
At least 44 people have died and more than 60,000 have been left homeless following torrential rain in southeast Brazil over the past few weeks, officials said Thursday.
In Espirito Santo state, Civil Defense officials reported a total of 27 fatalities, including eight Thursday, in what they described as the worst rains in 90 years.
They said 61,379 people were forced to leave their homes.
"We are going to have to rebuild the state," said Governor Renato Casagrande amid extensive flooding and damage to bridges and roads.
In neighboring Minas Gerais state, where the downpours began in October and have worsened in the past few days, authorities reported 17 deaths and said 4,150 people were forced to evacuate their homes.
A 56-year-old woman died on Wednesday in a landslide that buried her house in Juiz de Fora, 278 kilometers (173 miles) from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais.
Last week, a family of six, including a seven-year-old child, died when a mudslide swept away their home in Sardoa, in the eastern part of the state.
A total of 79 towns were affected across Minas Gerais and a state of alert was declared in in 26 of them.
Tuesday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff flew over flood-hit areas of Espirito Santo and pledged federal aid to the victims.
In early December, a storm also left 16 people dead and flattened more than 200 houses in the city of Lajedinho in the northeastern state of Bahia.
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