RIO DE JANEIRO Ė The discovery of three additional bodies in Pernambuco state brings to 44 the number of confirmed deaths from days of heavy rain in Brazilís impoverished northeast, authorities said Wednesday.
Emergency-management officials in Pernambuco say 15 people have died in the state and more than 42,000 have been forced to leave their homes.
The situation is even worse in neighboring Alagoas, where 29 people are confirmed dead and 607 others remain missing, while 74,515 residents have lost their homes.
Many of the stateís towns were submerged as the Mundau and Paraiba surged to as much as 12 meters (39 feet) above normal levels. The floodwaters have begun to recede in some communities, leaving behind tons of garbage and debris.
After a brief respite at the beginning of the week, the heavy rains resumed Tuesday night and forecasters are calling for continued wet weather.
Brazilís armed forces are aiding police and firefighters in rescue and recovery efforts.
Authorities are also using cadaver dogs to search for bodies, including some animals that did similar duty in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake.
With many schools covered in mud and others pressed into service as shelters, the Alagoas education department moved up the break scheduled for July.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva plans to visit the region Thursday to survey the damage. EFE