Some 630,000 people in the northeast Brazil are affected by the floods amid the heaviest December rainfall in the Bahia state in 32 years.

In some parts of the state, help only comes from boats and helicopters as floods blocked or damaged 44 state highways.
In some parts of the state, help only comes from boats and helicopters as floods blocked or damaged 44 state highways. (Reuters)

The death toll from heavy rains and flooding in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia has risen to 24, with around 630,000 people affected by the natural disaster.

Announcing the death toll on Wednesday, the local Civil Defense and Protection Observatory also said in a statement that the number of injured has reached 434 due to the continuous rains since November.

It noted that more than 37,000 people have lost their homes and nearly 54,000 have been evacuated.

In addition, 141 cities have been affected in the state, which is home to over 15 million people, the statement said, adding 132 cities declared a state of emergency.

Some 37 cities in southern Bahia were completely submerged as a result of the flooding.

READ MORE: Brazil official likens flooding in over 100 cities to 'bombardment'

READ MORE: Brazil evacuates residents as dams burst in northeast

Record rainfall

Authorities say it has been the heaviest December rainfall in Bahia in 32 years. In some towns, a month's worth of rain fell in a matter of hours.

While the waters are receding in some areas, leaving behind mountains of rubbish, in others the risk is increasing due to the opening of floodgates.

Firefighters in Bahia say at least 10 dams are at risk of collapsing as waters rise in several rivers.

Inhabitants of the areas most at risk have been urged to evacuate.

Meteorologists fear that in the next few days heavy rainfall could reach far more populous states such as Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo.

READ MORE: Heavy rains displace thousands in northeast Brazil

Source: TRTWorld and agencies