Brazil Relief - 080709 International Crisis Response

Aid Being Delivered to Flood Survivors in Brazil

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes for safety after many days of heavy rain caused deadly flooding and mudslides across southern Brazil. In Rio Grande do Sul’s capital city of Porto Alegre, the Guaiba River rose to record heights, broke its banks, and damaged major city infrastructure, leaving 80 percent of the population without clean drinking water. And the rains keep coming to this beleaguered region.

Over the last week, four Samaritan’s Purse flights (two each by our DC-8 and 757 cargo planes) have delivered 10 community water filtration systems and thousands of hygiene kits, solar lights, shelter tarps and blankets to Brazil. Our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) has also deployed to Porto Alegre to offer help, distribute these items, and share God’s love with those who are suffering.

“What the Brazilians and the church are already doing to take care of one another is so inspiring to me,” said Kim Cox, the DART’s distribution manager. “It’s so cool to see Christ just shine through them. That’s why I love being a part of a DART. Because you get to come alongside of that and help them keep being the light of Jesus.”

Cox ensures that relief items make it into the hands of those in need. In the beginning stages of a response, she often knocks on church doors and initiates conversations to find local partners. That’s how she met Mariana, a 16-year-old living with her family and around 15 others at a small church.

“I feel like I am in a terror movie because this never happened before,” Mariana said. “The security of my family is primary to me. I’m grateful to see all of them with me, but at the same time, I’m sad because I don’t know where my friends are. What’s happened with all of the people that I know?”

Mariana said that when her family rushed from their home, they hoped to return soon. They never expected the water to rise so quickly or so high. Her home, family business, and church were all flooded, but she wore a smile as she described her source of strength in the midst of the devastation.

“We don’t know about tomorrow, but we know a God who cares for us and others,” she said.

Even though they’ve been hard-hit by the storm, they continue to serve others out of love for them and love for Christ. “We’re trying to help others. Not just here. We go to other places. We pray with the people. We’re trying to share the love of the Lord.”

The church is helping to give out extra bottled water and clothes from donations that have poured in from northern Brazil. There are 700-plus shelters in the area.

In addition to distributing non-food items, Samaritan’s Purse has now set up one of our community water filtration system at the church. It could take months for floodwaters to recede in Brazil, and even longer to restore clean tap water to the city. The new system installed by our our water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) team can produce enough clean water for up to 10,000 people a day.

Cox can’t think of a better location to invite thirsty people to find physical and spiritual relief. “You’re already giving them the water of life with the love that you’re showing them in the Name of Jesus,” Kim said.

Please pray for comfort for those suffering in southern Brazil. Pray for wisdom for our teams as they set up water points and distribute desperately needed relief items. Pray for many people to take hold of the eternal hope found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. Also pray as Samaritan’s Purse is planning additional airlifts to the region using our DC-8 and 757.

Brazil Relief - 080709 International Crisis Response