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More than 150,000 remain homeless amid Brazil floods

By the CNN Wire Staff
Local residents check damaged rail tracks next to the overflowing Mandau river in northeastern Brazil.
Local residents check damaged rail tracks next to the overflowing Mandau river in northeastern Brazil.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Number of missing drops to less than 140 in northern Brazil
  • Death count from flooding remains at 46
  • The country's president cancels trip to G20 summit in Canada
  • Nearly 90 municipalities have been affected by heavy rains, flooding

Rio Largo, Brazil (CNN) -- Federal aid is flowing to rain-ravaged areas of northeastern Brazil and the number of missing has diminished to less than 140, but more than 150,000 people remained homeless or displaced Friday, the government said.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Friday he will not attend this weekend's G20 meeting in Canada to attend to the emergency at home, the Agencia Brasil government news outlet reported. Finance Minister Guido Mantega will take Lula's place.

The death count in two hard-hit states still stood at 46 -- 29 in Alagoas state and 16 in Pernambuco, Agencia Brasil said.

There were nearly 75,000 homeless or displaced residents in Alagoas and more than 80,000 in Pernambuco, the national civil defense office said.

In addition, civil defense said, there were more than 19,000 homes in Alagoas that were damaged or destroyed, as were 79 bridges.

Video: View destruction from Brazil's floods
Video: Hundreds missing in Brazilian floods
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In all, civil defense said on its website, 59 municipalities have been affected in Pernambuco and 28 in Alagoas.

The number of missing in Alagoas, which had stood at more than 600 Thursday, dropped to 135 as residents in some flooded towns were rescued, civil defense said.

The federal government announced Thursday the release of 500 million reais ($277 million) to help victims.

The money comes on top of a previous 50 million reais ($27.7 million) destined for Pernambuco and Alagoas.

Lula also signed Thursday an interim measure of 1 billion reais ($555 million) to purchase construction material and equipment for businesses affected by the floods.

The Organization of American States and the United States, which offered $50,000, also have pledged aid.