* This story has been auto-translated
Help was provided through the donation of food, clothing, hygiene and cleaning items, as well as shopping vouchers.
Returning to their homes after the heavy rains of the beginning of winter in Alagoas, Brazil, the victims of the floods now face the difficulties of starting again. Since July 20, a task force of the Adventist Agency for Development and Assistance Resources, ADRA, has brought help to families through donations. So far, more than a thousand families have received help with basic baskets, clothes, hygiene and cleaning items, as well as shopping vouchers.
The center of the emergency campaign was to support the regions that suffered the most from the floods. For that, ADRA launched a campaign with three face-to-face donation points in Alagoas, in addition to the contribution of people from all over the country. The amount of the collections was five tons of non-perishable food, four tons of fruits and vegetables, about two thousand pieces of clothing and 575 purchase vouchers worth 160.00 reais each. The victims of the cities of Maceió, Marechal Deodoro, Unión de los Palmares, Rio Largo and Matriz do Camaragibe were treated with donations.
A little for those who lost everything
One of the beneficiaries of a shopping voucher was María Aparecida, 49, an inhabitant of the Auxiliadora town, in Marechal Deodoro. Unemployed, she lived in a small two-room mud clay house that was completely deteriorated after the floods. Without cladding and with the structure of the walls damaged, it is impossible to inhabit the place at the moment. "I am in a temporary house in the municipality living with other people who also have no way to return to their homes. This money will help me recover a little of what I lost," he says.
In the neighboring community of María Aparecida, lives the 64-year-old boat driver Cícero da Silva. He has lived in the region for thirteen years and has already faced other floods in the place. Every day he works to transfer the inhabitants of the community of Riacho Velho to Marechal Deodoro. But with this year's flood, the water rose more than a meter in his house. He couldn't find a place in one of the few shelters in the region, so he decided to stay on the boat for a week, until the water level dropped. "We suffer, but it's the life we have here. That help came at a good time, not only for me, but for all of us who live here near the river and who lost many things," he says.
Patrícia Inácio, 37, lives with her husband and five children in the same community of Cícero. The family, which lives exclusively from fishing, lost almost everything. With a four-month-old baby in the house, according to her, the help already has a safe destination: "It will be to buy food, which is what we need most at the moment, and diapers for the baby. I cry a lot when I remember everything that happened here, but, unfortunately, I have no other place to live. If it weren't here, it would be under a bridge. I felt very excited because those people came to help us," she says.
From the emergency to the foster care
The Regional Nucleus of ADRA Alagoas continues to monitor the most affected regions and offer support to the victims. However, according to the coordinator of the regional unit, Carla Fontes, it is not just emergency aid. "We identify that the need of families at this time, when they return to their homes, is cleaning and hygiene material. With the shopping voucher they will be able to acquire those items in local markets, which will also generate movement in the economy of the region," he says.
The donations came from several fronts. From the international and South American fund of ADRA, through the donations of money in the regional and national campaigns, to the aid that came directly to the collection points. But it doesn't end there. The families previously helped were registered, and that will serve for the next step: foster care. "ADRA has the job of attending during the emergency, but we also have social and community development projects to work with those families so that they get mechanisms to get out of that situation of social vulnerability," says Carla.
See some photos of ADRA's action: