How to help the victims of Rio Grande do Sul flooding from outside Brazil

May 13, 2024
tragedy rio grande do sul brazil
Floods and landslides have affected over 800 thousand people in 341 municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul. Photo: Reuters / Agência Brasil

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is facing its worst flood in history as heavy rains continue to batter the state, causing widespread devastation. Since May 2, floods and landslides have displaced over half a million (538,241) people as they were forced to abandon their homes for safety.

The consequences of the storms affect about 90% of the state, or 447 out of 497 municipalities, and over 2.11 million people have been directly or indirectly impacted by the extreme climate events.

The capital city, Porto Alegre, has been severely impacted, virtually cut off from the rest of the region. The airport and bus station are closed, and main roads are blocked due to floodwaters, leaving residents stranded and isolated.

In a desperate plea, the mayor of a major southern Brazilian city urged residents to comply with water rationing measures, as approximately four-fifths of the population is without running water. Efforts to rescue stranded individuals are ongoing, while forecasts predict more rains in the coming week, exacerbating the crisis.

Residents face critical shortages of drinking water, food, and personal hygiene products. Long lines and empty shelves were observed at supermarkets, with purchases of bottled water limited to two five-liter bottles per person.

Public health experts warn of the growing risk of disease, particularly dengue fever and leptospirosis, due to the submerged conditions in the region. As the floodwaters recede, concerns about looting and theft have prompted increased security measures.

Many residents are fleeing the affected areas, but blocked access roads make evacuation difficult. The looming threat of more severe rain adds to the urgency of the situation.

The flood disaster is expected to have far-reaching consequences, including disruptions to food supplies. Rio Grande do Sul, known for producing 70% of Brazil’s rice, faces delays in harvest, potentially leading to the need for food imports to balance production.

With over 150,000 people forced from their homes and an additional 50,000 seeking refuge in temporary shelters, the situation remains dire. The national guard is mobilizing to reinforce security, aiming to prevent further chaos in the region.

Various public and private initiatives are gathering donations to alleviate the devastating effects of the crisis. For those residing abroad who wish to help, reputable non-governmental organizations (NGO) have opened their channels for support. Learn how you can support from abroad.

Luz Alliance Fund

Brazilian model and international activist Gisele Bündchen has announced the reopening of donations to the Emergency Fund Luz Alliance in partnership with the Brazil Foundation. The funds will be allocated to assist those affected in Rio Grande do Sul. Donations can be made in Brazilian real or US dollars.

Instagram: @brazilfound

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for CHF 8,000,000 to scale up humanitarian assistance to communities affected by the devastating floods in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Instagram: @ifrc

Cufa (Central Única das Favelas)

CUFA is a Brazilian NGO recognized nationally and internationally in the political, social, and cultural spheres that has existed for 20 years. They support fronts in different regions of Rio Grande do Sul in cities such as Porto Alegre, Caxias do Sul, Bento Gonçalves, Vale do Taquari, among others. The entity has partnerships with iFood and the airline Gol, in addition to receiving support from numerous artists such as Anitta and Mano Brown. Donations can be made via PayPal at doacoespaypal@cufa.org.br.

Instagram: @cufars

HUMUS – Brazil

This non-profit organization operates in communities located in areas at risk of disasters related to extreme natural events. They are on-site to assist Rio Grande do Sul in response to the request of volunteer firefighters, due to the urgent need for rescues, particularly of people stranded due to the rising water levels. The association accepts donations via credit card and PayPal.

Instagram: @humus_br

Animal Disaster Response Group

The group of volunteers is engaged in rescuing both animals and families during the flood in Rio Grande do Sul. Their efforts are focused in various cities across the state, particularly in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre. Donations are possible via credit card and PayPal.

Instagram: @grad_brasil

Solidarity Kitchen (MTST)

The Solidarity Kitchen of the Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST), situated in the Azenha neighborhood of Porto Alegre, is preparing meals to distribute to the population affected by the floods. The association aims to deliver 2,400 meals daily. Donations can be made through the Apoia.se platform, as well as PayPal for donations abroad.

Instagram: @cozinhassolidariasmtst

Government of the State of Rio Grande do Sul

The Government of Rio Grande do Sul has released three bank accounts for donations in euros, dollars, or British pounds:

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.

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