RIO DE JANEIRO, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Floods and mudslides from heavy rain have led to three deaths and left more than 16,000 people homeless in Brazil, local media said on Friday.
In the northeastern Maranhao state, the persistent rain which began in early April has already affected 40,000 people, 13,000 of whom were left homeless. Two people died in mudslides in the state capital Sao Luis, and 13 municipalities declared state of emergency.
According to the local Civil Defense department, about half of those who were left homeless are now living in public shelters, while the other half are in the houses of their friends or relatives.
In the southern Santa Catarina state, one person died and over 3,000 were left homeless because of the floods.
In the northern Amazonas state, the floods in the Amazon River and some of its tributaries led governor Eduardo Braga to declare state of emergency in all the 62 municipalities in the state.
Experts say that the Amazon River Basin will undergo the second greatest flood in 100 years in 2009. The rainy season started in the end of 2008 and is expected to last until May or June.
Floods are common in several regions in Brazil. In 2008, 135 people died and over 78,000 were left homeless as huge floods hit Santa Catarina state.