Nazarenes respond to devastating floods in Brazil

Nazarenes respond to devastating floods in Brazil

by
Lucas Nunes for Nazarene News
| 16 May 2024
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Brazil Floods
Caption

Igreja do Nazareno Canoas

Torrential rainfall in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has caused widespread flooding, resulting in significant displacement in several areas and leaving entire communities on alert. The rains began on 27 April, leading to a significant increase in river levels that flooded cities and villages.

According to Brazil's Civil Defense, 458 municipalities were affected by the floods, displacing more than 530,000 people and directly affecting more than 2 million. To date, 151 deaths have been confirmed. The Churches of the Nazarene in Canoas, Eldorado do Sul, Novo Hamburgo, Venâncio Aires, Alvorada, and Viamão were directly affected, and several houses in the region were invaded by water.

Local authorities have warned of the risk of landslides in mountainous areas and unstable slopes, further increasing concerns about the safety of the population. In addition to the immediate impacts on communities, the floods also caused significant damage to infrastructure, including damaged bridges, the closure of the region's main airport, and interruptions in the supply of electricity and drinking water.

The Church of the Nazarene in Brazil has come together to help respond to this crisis.

"Never has a verse been as current as Isaiah 41:6 (NIV), which says: 'They help each other, and say to their companions, 'Be strong','" said Manuel Lima, director of the denomination’s Brazil sub-region.

In response to this emergency, all districts in Brazil have been collecting donations of non-perishable food, cleaning materials, personal hygiene products, mineral water, bedding, and clothing in a joint effort called S.O.S Rio Grande do Sul, an arm of the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Brazil that works to help in times of crisis.

While rains continue to fall in some regions, the population remains in a state of vigilance. Nazarene volunteers plan to distribute donations in three strategic locations, possibly extending to five locations in total. The distributions will begin as soon as the waters recede enough for travel to be possible.

The Gaúcho District covers the affected area of Rio Grande do Sul, home to more than 1,000 Nazarene members.

"The big challenge will be when the waters recede, and people return to their homes, some of whom won't even have their homes to clean," said District Superintendent Romero Moreira. "It is a bleak picture with many needs, but it is precisely the time to be the Lord's church in this region."

Daniel Antonio, logistics coordinator at S.O.S Rio Grande do Sul, wants to focus on the impact they can make in the community beyond just responding to the disaster.

"Our focus must be beyond the disaster and on the continuity of this work, helping these people to regain their dignity and their lives," Antonio said. "We see this as an excellent opportunity to bring the love of Christ to those who are suffering so much, thus showing the importance of the local church."

Please continue to pray for the people of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

If you wish to give to support relief efforts, visit ncm.org/brazilfloods.

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