RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from flood caused by recent storms in Brazil's southeast states of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais has reached 20, local media reported Monday.
Six people died in Espirito Santo and 14 in Minas Gerais, including several minors. Most were killed in flood-caused landslides that buried their homes, the reports said, quoting local Civil Defense authorities.
In Espirito Santo alone, 40,000 people have been left homeless due to severe flooding in the state capital Vitoria and its metropolitan area.
More than 6,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed by the storms.
In both states, entire neighborhoods were flooded, several bridges were washed away by flood waters and several stretches of road were blocked by mudslides.
Espirito Santo state governor Renato Casagrande has declared a state of emergency in 45 of his state's 78 towns. The National Security Force, a federal agency that often helps in cases of major disasters, was dispatched to the state to help relief and rescue efforts.
In addition, the federal government has sent a helicopter, portable bridges, army troops, mattresses and personal hygiene products for those left homeless.