At least three people died as a result of the heavy rains registered Thursday in the eastern coastal Brazilian state of Espirito Santo, government agencies said.

More than 18,000 people were forced to abandon their homes and about 2,000 families were evacuated and are being housed in shelters set up by the local government, according to a bulletin released by the Civil Defense agency.

The rains flooded parts of various towns and authorities said that more than 3,000 buildings were at least partially damaged.

In addition, Civil Defense also issued several alerts on the danger of flooding and landslides in a number of towns with the aim of preventing more fatalities. EFE