An additional 56 people are missing and at least 25 are injured, Brazil’s Minister of Regional Development Daniel Ferreira said on Sunday.
More than 3,900 people have also lost their homes due to devastating downpours, Ferreira added.
Some of the deaths were caused by landslides in the greater Recife area, said the Pernambuco civil defense, which has urged residents living in high risk areas to seek shelter elsewhere.
In the city of Recife itself, schools have opened to shelter displaced families.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that Brazil’s military would assist those impacted, and that he would personally travel to Recife on Monday to assess the situation.
“Our Government made available, from the first moment, all its means to help those affected, including the Armed Forces,” he tweeted Sunday.
Brazil’s northeast has been suffering from exceptionally high volumes of rain, officials say. Some areas have registered more rain in the past 24 hours than the total volume expected for the month of May.
Extreme rain has battered Brazil repeatedly in recent months. In December, downpours caused two dams to burst in nearby Bahia state
, killing dozens and submerging entire streets.