Source AP ©

Five days of torrential rains in Brazil bring victims

Torrential rains have left four people dead and driven thousands from their homes in Brazil.

Rivers overflowed and flooded 58 cities and towns across the far-southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, the state's Civil Defense Agency said in a statement. Seventeen communities declared a state of emergency.

The Folha news agency reported that four people died as a result of the rains, but the state did not confirm the deaths.

More than 4,000 people were evacuated, the Civil Defense statement said. Many residents initially refused to leave, fearing their abandoned houses would be looted, but were forced out by rising waters.