10 May 2024

Salvation Army response to flooding in Brazil

The most southerly region of Brazil has declared a state of public calamity due to the torrential rains and flooding in the area which have affected more than 873,000 people.

Over 80 fatalities have been reported in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, with the number expected to rise. Almost 150,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

The Guaíba river burst its banks in Porto Alegre, the state capital, flooding parts of the city and surrounding towns. The district in which the Salvation Army’s corps and thrift store are located is completely flooded. The corps’ outpost, in Eldorado do Sul, is practically underwater. As soon as the roads are clear, the Salvation Army’s canteen and donation truck will be heading to Porto Alegre from territorial headquarters in São Paulo, with water, non-perishable foods, and cleaning and personal hygiene items, which have been donated by the general public.

Many people have lost everything

The central region has seen the worst of the devastation, like the town of Santa Maria where the Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters (DHQ) and a corps are based. Major Alessandra Nunes, Divisional Director for Women’s Ministries, explained that the situation is very delicate. She said, ‘There have been landslides in communities near us and many people have lost everything. As most of the access is blocked in and out of the town, people are panic-buying in supermarkets and stocking up on fuel.’ 

Emergency volunteers provide a rapid response

Teams from DHQ and Salvationists in the area have visited local surroundings to assess the devastation and need. Clothes, water, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies and food are being distributed to families experiencing difficulties.

With further rain predicted, Salvation Army emergency volunteers will continue with their rapid response in flood-damaged areas, carrying out further needs assessments on the ground as they work, seeking to provide emotional and spiritual support to those affected.

The Salvation Army has been working in the region for 90 years with the establishment of eight corps, two outposts, one social institution for children and adolescents, and four thrift stores. 

Damaris Frick, International Emergency Services Director

Tags: Emergencies, Americas and Caribbean, News