Torrential rains, flooding, and landslides kill at least 10 people in Minas Gerais state, with officials warning of more intense downpours in the South American region.

Of the 853 municipalities in Minas Gerais state, 145 of them are a state of emergency due to the extreme weather, Brazil officials say.
Of the 853 municipalities in Minas Gerais state, 145 of them are a state of emergency due to the extreme weather, Brazil officials say. (AFP)

Torrential rain in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has killed 10 people in two days, according to an official report, which warned of more intense downpours in the region.

The victims, among them an 11-year-old girl, died on Sunday and Monday due to rains, flooding, and landslides, the State Coordinator of Civil Defense said on Tuesday.

"January has been very difficult for Minas Gerais because of the quantity, and even more so the concentration, of rain in a short amount of time," said the state’s vice-governor, Paulo Brant, in a video published on Instagram.

"We should not curse the rain or blame nature. To a large extent the effects are due to past mistakes like the disorderly expansion of cities, and the sedimentation and pollution of rivers," he said.

READ MORE:Canyon cliff collapse leaves many boaters dead in Brazil

Deaths and displacement 

Since the rains began at the beginning of October, 19 people have died in the southeastern Brazilian state. Ten more were killed on Saturday when a large rock fragment broke free of a ravine and plunged onto four tourist boats in Furnas Lake.

Current counts say 17,237 people have had to abandon their homes or seek refuge because of the storms.

A mining dam overflowed on  Saturday, disrupting traffic on a major highway for two days.

The French group Vallourec was fined around $60 million for "environmental damage" three days later, local authorities announced on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Heavy rains displace thousands in northeast Brazil

'We lost everything'

In Juatuba, a town of 26,000 about 50 kilometres from the state capital of Belo Horizonte, Daniel Valeriano de Oliveira's house flooded early on Sunday morning.

"We lost everything. My wife and children left the house in a boat," the logistics operator told AFP news agency.

Civil Defense warned that conditions on Tuesday in Minas Gerais would include "moderate to heavy rain that may be accompanied by electric shocks."

Experts attribute the emergency to the South Atlantic Convergence Zone, a typical summer phenomenon that each year causes heavy rainfall in the area, in addition to La Nina, a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide, and the climate crisis.

For two months, Brazil has suffered extensive damage due to the floods, which have killed dozens and displaced thousands, especially in the northeast state of Bahia.

READ MORE: Massive flooding in Brazil leaves thousands destitute, death toll rises

Source: AFP