The death toll from two weeks of floods and mudslides amid torrential rain in two states in southeastern Brazil has risen to 32, officials said.

The civil defence department of Minas Gerais state said on its website on Wednesday that 17 people died there in floodwaters and mudslides. 

The tragedy in Espirito Santo destroyed homes, roads and dreams. We are going to try to rebuild them.



Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil

The department said about 4,000 people were forced to seek shelter in public buildings or in the homes of friends and relatives.

In neighbouring Espirito Santo, a civil defence spokesman told AFP news agency that the bodies of two men and a woman were found early on Wednesday, taking the number of people killed to 17.

He said that the number of people left homeless by the flooding was about 50,000.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff toured flood-hit areas of the state and pledged federal aid to rebuild homes and roads on Tuesday.

Rousseff said two helicopters and army trucks would be sent to the area to deliver food and medicine to those affected.

“The tragedy in Espirito Santo destroyed homes, roads and dreams," the president said after an aerial tour.  

"We are going to try to rebuild them.” 

Almost 20,000 kilometres of roads were reported destroyed or damaged.

Authorities said 47 cities in Espirito Santo, which borders Rio de Janeiro state, were affected by the flooding, including many left without communications, drinkable water and power.

State governor Renato Casagrande, who  declared a state of alert in the area on Saturday, described the rains as the worst in the past 90 years.

In early December, a storm left 16 people dead and flattened more than 200 houses in the city of Lajedinho in the northeastern state of Bahia.

Source: Agencies