Rio de Janeiro: The toll from heavy rains and flooding in Brazil’s southeast states climbed to 45, authorities said.

As many as 27 people were confirmed dead in Espirito Santo and 18 in Minas Gerais, Xinhua cited from the latest Civil Defence report Thursday.

More than 60,000 people were forced to leave their homes due to widespread flooding and landslides in Espirito Santo, where 52 of the state’s 78 towns declared a state of emergency.

In Minas Gerais, 25 towns declared a state of emergency.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Espirito Santo State Governor Renato Casagrande said the days-long storm was the biggest natural disaster in the history of the state.

Minas Gerais had yet to appeal for federal aid, while a contingent of relief workers composed of army troops, firefighters and the National Security Force was dispatched to Espirito Santo after local authorities requested federal help with search and rescue efforts.

The Brazilian Health Ministry was planning to send more helicopters, ambulances, relief workers and medicine to the disaster-hit areas.

Rainstorms are common in the summer season of southern Brazil. A deadly storm in Rio de Janeiro state claimed more than 900 lives in January 2011.

Source: IANS