Food donations lessen suffering from drought in northern Brazil

Church members in Brazil are donating tons of food to help alleviate extreme privations caused by a two-year drought in the northern area of this nation.

More than 90 tons of food have been shipped by the Church from southern Brazil, where the majority of the Church membership is located. The food has been sent to agricultural areas in the states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceara, where the drought has seriously depleted food supplies. The two-year drought has been aggravated by the El Nino weather phenomenon.No Church units are in the most seriously affected regions.

Some 15 million people are suffering directly because of the drought and another 5 million indirectly. Many families from the interior are abandoning their properties and seeking work in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. Those who remain are being supported by the government, churches and agencies of social assistance.

The drought may end soon when a rainy period is expected to begin.

Each stake and district in the south, southeastern and central-west regions of Brazil has sent 1,320 pounds of staple foods that are used for "basic baskets." One basic basket is enough to feed a six-member family for a period of approximately 10 days. This totals 90 tons per month from the stakes and districts.

Food is shipped by trucks, provided by the Church's Humanitarian Services, which leave Sao Paulo monthly and travel north.

Donations are also sent through the Church to stakes in the capital of the states ravaged by drought. These capitals, which are located on the seacoast, have adequate food supplies. Stake members shop for the food and distribute it through various government agencies.

The distribution of food was developed and approved under the direction of Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy and president of the Brazil Area. Ulises Soares, director of temporal affairs for Brazil, and Jose Arias, Brazil Area welfare agent, have helped coordinate efforts.

A second stage of relief provided by members in Brazil will include basic medications, drinkable water and clothing.

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