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Church sends emergency aid after heavy rains, landslides in Brazil

Donated supplies and service will help victims on the north coast of São Paulo

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sending relief supplies and emergency aid to those affected by heavy rains and landslides in Brazil’s São Paulo state.

The donated items will help rescue the victims and house the homeless, reported the Church’s Autossuficiência Brasil Facebook page.

A record amount of rain fell in the coastal area east of São Paulo, leading to the destruction of hundreds of homes and killed at least 48 people, but dozens of people are still missing according to a news report from Reuters

The community near Barra do Sahy beach after deadly landslides were triggered by heavy rain in the coastal city of São Sebastião, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. | AP Photo/Andre Penner

In one weekend, the area was hit by more than 23.6 inches (600 millimeters) of rain, the highest ever in the country.

The BBC reported that many of the make-shift homes built on steep hillsides could not withstand the force of the water, earth and rock that came rushing down. It’s estimated that more than 9 million people in Brazil live in areas prone to flooding or landslides.

Church members in Brazil act as Helping Hands as they package clothing and other supplies to give to people affected by heavy rains and mudslides in São Paulo, Brazil, Feb. 23, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Items that are being donated by the Church include bottled water, food, mattresses, bedding, pillows, clothing, personal protective equipment, tools, hygiene and cleaning kits.

In addition to material aid, local members of the Church are serving as “Helping Hands” — donning the yellow shirts and vests as they serve where they are needed in their communities.

The donations began arriving in the municipality of São Sebastião on Feb. 24, said a post from Autossuficiência Brasil, and were unloaded and organized.

Donations of mattresses, bedding, clothing and other aid from the Church arrives in São Sebastião, Brazil, Feb. 24, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

News reports explained that the coastal area had been particularly busy with families and tourists heading to the beaches during the carnival period, likely making the human toll worse and straining relief organizations.

Landslides and flooding are a recurring problem in Brazil. Last year hundreds of people were killed in Petrópolis, north of Rio de Janeiro, from torrential rains and mudslides. The Church and members also responded with aid for the area.

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