RIO DE JANEIRO, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Deaths in the storms which have been hitting Brazil's northeastern region for the past 10 days have reached 54, local Civil Defense services announced on Monday.
In Pernambuco state, 20 people have died due to floods and mudslides; 27 towns declared state of emergency and other 12 declared state of calamity. In Alagoas state, the death toll reached 34, with four municipalities in state of emergency and 15 in state of calamity.
Over 150,000 people in the two states had to leave their homes due to the storms. Out of those, at least 50,000 had no place to go and are currently in improvised shelters in schools, churches and public buildings. More than 20,000 houses, 140 bridges and 4, 000 kilometers of highways have been damaged in the two states.
According to the local authorities, the storms caused over one million reais (561 million U.S. dollars) in damages. Last week, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the damaged areas and announced the release of 550 million reais (308 million U.S. dollars) for the reconstruction of the devastated towns. Additionally, one million reais are to be made available through loans from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).