The government of the state of Pernambuco, of which Recife is the capital, also reports 14 missing, while searches continue in the most affected areas.
More than 400 firefighters are mobilized, notably in Jardim Monteverde, on the border between Recife and the town of Jaboatao dos Guararapes, where several dozen people were buried by a mudslide.
More than 6,000 people in the Recife region have lost their homes and had to be accommodated in reception structures, according to the latest report from the authorities.
A state of emergency has been declared in 24 municipalities in Pernambuco.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro flew over the flooded areas on Monday and the government released a loan of 1 billion reais (about 198 million euros) to help the victims.
The head of state has been criticized for saying that this type of disaster was “things that happen”, after in particular a similar tragedy which claimed 233 in Petropolis, near Rio de Janeiro (southeast), in February .
Other deadly floods took place at the end of last year in the state of Bahia (northeast), then in January in the southeast, in the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.
Between Friday evening and Saturday morning, it rained the equivalent of 70% of what is normally expected for the whole of May in certain areas of Pernambuco.
Natural disaster specialist José Marengo told AFP that the exceptional rainfall was due to global warming, but was above all deadly because of uncontrolled urbanization.
“Rain in itself does not kill. What is deadly is rain on houses located in risk areas”, explains this research coordinator of the National Center for Monitoring and Warning of Natural Disasters in Brazil ( CEMADEN).
According to him, the authorities are “guilty” of having “allowed construction in risk areas, where poor populations live who have nowhere to go”.