A Response Team from Cornish disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, is delivering emergency shelter in Brazil, following flash floods and landslides that struck the eastern states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.
After two days of heavy rain a massive landslide hit the small town of Jamapara in the district of Sapucaia, Rio de Janeiro, on 10 January that crushed homes, taking the lives of more than 20 people as they lay sleeping in their beds. The town’s inhabitants are now concerned for their safety in the light of what happened to their friends and families. Subsequently, many are afraid to live in their homes at this time while others are being evacuated due to damaged infrastructure and the danger of further landslides.
British ShelterBox volunteer David Hatcher visited a school in the centre of Jamapara where around 350 people made homeless by the disaster have been living together in difficult circumstances, including a lady with multiple sclerosis and a pregnant woman. He also spoke with one young family whose home was crushed by a large rock one week before the landslide happened:
‘25-year old Mario Jnr Da Silva Egidio, his 20-year old wife Marciana Aparecida Da Cunha Reis Silva and their 3-year old daughter and baby son are finding it difficult living in the school with the lack of space,’ said David. ‘But they say at least it is safer than their home. They feel that their good fortune of surviving is greatly tinged by the knowledge of what happened to their townsfolk and the fact they have now lost the home they lived in for six years.’
‘We are hopeless but are waiting and hoping for help from the Government, but in the short term we have nowhere to go,’ said Mario Egidio.
Brazil’s ShelterBox Affiliate Director Jose Luiz Machado is accompanying David on the deployment and working with local Rotarians to bring in ShelterBox tents and lifesaving equipment from prepositioned stock, which will provide shelter, warmth and dignity to the family of Mario Egidio and the many others like them.
ShelterBox continues to assess the need for emergency humanitarian aid in the surrounding areas with the support from Brazilian local authorities and the Civil Defence.
Public donations are vital to ShelterBox’s continuing work. To make a donation please ring +44 (0)300 0300 500 or go to www.shelterbox.org to donate online and get the latest updates on our response to disasters around the world.