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Latino Daily News

Tuesday February 1, 2011

International Catholic Aid Organizations Make Appeal for Brazil Flood Victims

Caritas is appealing for $1.65 million to support 5,000 families victims of floods and mudslides in South East Brazil.

The recent floods and mudslides were the worst natural disaster Brazil has experienced in the last 40 years. More than 800 people died and around 25,000 people were left homeless.

“There are thousands of people at the doors of our churches asking for immediate help. The funds raised will be used to help them”, said Dom Dimas Lara Barbosa, Secretary General of the Brazilian National Bishops Conference (CNBB) who is working with Caritas Brazil on this emergency.

“We also need to think about the future. Now all of Brazil and many countries are mobilized to help those affected. But we also need to be there when the fact is no longer news to help people in the most critical phase of reconstruction. We need to have an emergency plan, but we also need to plan the short, medium and long term.”

Altogether, up to one million people have been affected, mainly in the Rio de Janeiro area, but also in the districts of São Paulo, Paraná and Santa Catarina. Local authorities believe the death toll will rise to over 1,000 in the Rio de Janeiro region alone.

Caritas Brazil took action immediately after the floods, calling for donations and distributing emergency relief items to the survivors. People made homeless by the disaster were hosted in local churches.

In a first phase of the 12-month project covered by the appeal, Caritas will help 5,000 families provide for their most urgent needs. The families will receive food, hygiene kits and emergency shelter material. The second phase of the project will consist of livelihood support, such as help in launching an agricultural or fair trade activity.

Families who lost everything in the disaster as well as those taking care of small children or the elderly will receive aid as a priority.