Days of torrential downpours, raging flood waters and whole towns 'wiped off' the map. These were the reports international disaster relief charity ShelterBox received from north eastern Brazil where up to 100,000 people are feared to have lost their homes.
200 ShelterBoxes arrived in Recife, Brazil on Sunday, July 4 and have now been distributed in the town of Barreiros in the state of Pernambuco. Families who have had no shelter since their homes were destroyed in the flooding are now living in ShelterBox tents.
Each ShelterBox contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, cooking utensils, a stove, blankets, water purification and storage equipment, a tool kit, a children's activity pack and other vital items.
ShelterBox Response Team members Pat Prendergast (UK), Phil Duloy (UK), Tom Lay (UK), Jodie Hurt (UK) and John Cordell (US) are working with local Rotarians and state officials to ensure the most effective distribution of the ShelterBoxes.
Pat, from Swindon, is one of the charity's most experienced Response Team members and he says the damage in Brazil is as bad as he's seen.
'I've been on many deployments with ShelterBox after disasters but this is as bad as I've seen it,' he said.
'I was shocked by the extent of the damage, it's awful. It's like the scene after a tsunami. The people are desperate over here and really need our help.
'Yesterday we set up two camps, one of 169 tents and a second, on higher ground, of 31 tents. We've been working with the local authorities who have set up electricity, toilet blocks and access to fresh water.
'There's still people sleeping on the streets and there's an absolute crying need for shelter, more so than anything else. As far as we're aware, we're the only aid organisation active in the area.'
A further 200 ShelterBoxes will arrive in Brazil on Monday, July 12 and will be distributed in Branquinha, a town in the state of Alagoas immediately.
ShelterBox Head of Operations, John Leach, added: 'The team in Brazil and the Rotarians they're working with have done an absolutely incredible job.
'We've never been able to deliver aid into Brazil before and their work with the state officials has been fundamental in allowing us to deliver aid to people who are in desperate need. We're packing more boxes at ShelterBox HQ and doing all we can to ensure more aid arrives imminently.'
The floods are an annual event in both Pernambuco and Alagoas but this year's are on a scale not seen before.
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.
NOTES TO EDITORS (1)
- For more information on where ShelterBox has delivered aid in the last decade, go to http://www.shelterbox.org/deployments.php
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o contact Tommy Tonkins on +44 (0)1326 569782 or email@example.com
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- For more information on ShelterBox please contact Tommy Tonkins on +44 (0)1326 569782 or +44 (0)7833 050295.