At least 41 people have died and nearly 70,000 have been left homeless following torrential rain in southeast Brazil over the past few weeks, officials have said.

In Espirito Santo state, Civil Defence officials on Thursday reported a total of 27 fatalities, including eight on Thursday, in what they described as the worst rains in 90 years.

They said 61,379 people were forced to leave their homes.

President Dilma Rousseff interrupted her year-end holidays on Friday to tour flood-hit areas of Espirito Santo.

"We are going to have to rebuild the state," said Governor Renato Casagrande amid extensive flooding and damage to bridges and roads.

In neighbouring Minas Gerais state, where the downpours began in October and have worsened in the past few days, have 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 kilometres from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais.

Aid pledge

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 26 of them.

On 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.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies