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Anadolu Agency/Reuters
Anadolu Agency/Reuters
World News

Churches offer shelter to victims of Brazil floods

by Lydia Davies

In the wake of catastrophic flooding in Brazil, churches and communities have rallied to support displaced individuals and those affected by the loss of essential services.

Days of torrential rainfall have led to floods in over 400 cities, displacing more than 408,100 individuals in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This flooding is deemed the most severe weather-related disaster in the state's history, resulting in the deaths of at least 116 individuals over the past two weeks and leaving 140 others unaccounted for.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul has been hit hardest. Bishop Cleonir Paulo Dalbosco OFM of Bagé told Vatican News: “There’s an overspread feeling of solidarity, and volunteers are helping in every way possible for the people in need.”

Churches across the region have become vital distribution points for donations and shelters for those displaced by the floods. According to Bishop Cleonir: “Parishes and dioceses from other parts of Brazil have been promoting campaigns and sending funds to our state as well.”

Amidst this disaster, Fr Leonardo Inácio Pereira from São Pelegrino Parish in Caxias do Sul shared with the news outlet how his church is helping out: “We’re giving shelter to a group of 25 senior citizens who lived at a nursing home.”

He detailed how parishioners have actively participated in rescue efforts using quadricycles and boats.

“Our diocesan seminary became a centre of distribution of donations. Yesterday, at least 500 people went there to help organise the kits,” Leonardo said, highlighting the collective effort to alleviate the crisis's impact.

Furthermore, a Christian charity named Operation Blessing has established three kitchens capable of serving up to 6,000 individuals daily since the floods began.

The nonprofit's advance team, consisting of members from Virginia Beach, Honduras, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, and Chile, arrived on Thursday in Novo Hamburgo, an area severely affected by the crisis. They are also assembling hygiene kits and cleaning supplies destined for temporary shelters housing residents who have evacuated their homes.


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