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06-06-2024 | Latest News , Americas

Brazil one month on: Red Cross calls for continued support as flooding continues and conditions deteriorate


One month after flooding in southern Brazil affected over 2.3 million people and displaced more than 620,000, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for continued support. Initial damage and humanitarian needs are exacerbated by ongoing rains, cold temperatures and the appearance of water-borne diseases. 

“Though in many ways it feels like day one, we are four weeks into this emergency. Floodwaters remain trapped in many of the flooded areas, hampering the distribution of humanitarian aid and preventing the lowering of water levels that would allow people to return to their homes. With more rain and colder weather in the forecast, as well as a rise in water-borne diseases, every effort should be made to support the most vulnerable population, whose humanitarian needs continue to grow exponentially”, said Roger Alonso Morgui, IFRC Head of Operations for the Brazil floods response. 

Since the onset of the floods, Red Cross teams have distributed 648,000 litres of water, 9,800 food baskets, 10,150 bags of clothes, 3,595 blankets, 7,830 cleaning kits, 6,380 hygiene kits, 2,347 mattresses, 810 pillows, 640 diaper kits, 116 kitchen sets and 142,559 medicines. In total, 1,500 people have received medical support.   

Volunteers have also distributed mosquito nets and water filters to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. The Brazilian Red Cross (BRC) has also made inroads into areas that were cut off by the floods to reach affected communities, including ten groups of some of the most vulnerable indigenous people who had been previously unable to access sites where items were being distributed.  

“In the coming weeks, the most urgent needs for the most vulnerable population - women, children and marginalized groups - include food, personal hygiene items, blankets, cleaning sets, clean water and water filters, both for hydration and to reduce the risk of exposure to water-borne disease and bacteria,” said Alonso. 

According to the Meteorological Office of Brazil, heavy rains are expected to continue along the coast of Rio Grande do Sul. This could mean further flooding in the already saturated Porto Alegre, while other areas in which the flooding had receded could see a resurgence. Local authorities have advised the population not to return to flooded areas and have recommended that those who live in areas at risk of landslides exercise extreme caution. 

In response to the flooding, the most devastating disaster in the history of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for CHF 8,000,000 to support, for the next 12 months, 25,000 people who have lost their homes and are in urgent need of assistance. Two IFRC relief flights have already transported essential supplies to the affected zones. However, despite concerted efforts, there remains a significant funding shortfall for this humanitarian response, with most of the required funds still needed to fully address the crisis.  

recent study from World Weather Attribution revealed that climate change made the floods in southern Brazil “twice as likely,” and the damage was only made worse by infrastructure failures. These impacts on more extreme weather events are only expected to continue.  

For more information or to coordinate an interview: media@ifrc.org  

In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes +50769993199   

In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa +41 797084367 / Andrew Thomas +41 763676587  

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