Flood-related deaths climb to 44 in northeastern Brazil
Death toll from heavy rains and floods that have been ravaging northeastern Brazil since last weekend rose to 44 as of Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
In Pernambuco, three male bodies were found late Tuesday，raising the number of flood-related deaths in that state to 15, authorities said. In neighboring Alagoas state, the disaster affected more people, totaling 29 fatalities.
In Pernambuco where about 80,000 people were affected by the floods, nine municipalities are in a state of public calamity and 30 others have declared a state of emergency.
At least 15 municipalities of Alagoas have also decreed state of public calamity. A total of 177,000 people were affected in the state and nearly 600 are missing.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced Tuesday the release of 100 million reais (55 million dollars) in government funds to help the victims.
In addition, the president sent Defense Minister Nelson Jobim to the flood zones to discuss with state governments on emergency measures.
Lula is expected to visit flood zones Thursday.