Rio de Janeiro, Dec 25 (IANS/EFE) At least 22 people died and some 46,900 were forced to evacuate their homes after more than a week of torrential rains in southeastern Brazil, authorities said Tuesday.
In Espiritu Santo, where the heaviest downpours occurred, eight people have died and 45 have been injured.
On Tuesday before dawn, three people died when they were buried under a mudslide in the municipality of Itaguacu.
While historically the average rainfall in Espiritu Santo is around 300 mm in December, this month it topped 700 mm.
Of those evacuated, 4,669 found shelter in schools and public buildings and another 41,520 in the homes of relatives and friends.
The federal government sent troops last weekend to help with the rescue work.
"We're working to rescue many people who were left isolated in municipalities that suffered widespread destruction," Col Edimilton Ribeiro, head of the fire department in Espiritu Santo, said.
President Dilma Rousseff flew by helicopter over the hardest hit areas in Espiritu Santo Tuesday to take stock of the situation.
In the state of Minas Gerais the number of fatalities has risen to 14.