Flooding from torrential rains in Brazil's normally arid northeast has killed 15 people and driven about 50,000 from their homes, civil defence officials said.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed an executive order Friday night releasing $ 360 million to help flood victims.
The 15 victims drowned in the state of Paraiba, where the Paraiba River overflowed its banks and the walls of a medium-size dam cracked, the Civil Defence Department said yesterday. It had no further details on the deaths.
Some 14,000 residents in the state abandoned their homes to escape floodwaters.
In nearby Piaui state, the floods drove about 19,000 people from their homes and destroyed corn and bean crops, officials said. About 30 cities and towns were isolated by washed-out roads.
Another 8,000 people were taken in by relatives or received temporary shelter in churches and public buildings in the state of Maranhao.
Meanwhile, 7,500 people fled homes in Pernambuco and Ceara states, officials said.