Poverty and fear are dominating the lives of many of those living in the disaster region

by Florian Klinner/SRA,  2011/02/18

Being the employee in charge at the humedica headquarters, Florian Klinner manages the relief project for supporting the victims of the landslides in Brazil. Last week he travelled to the affected regions in the framework of a monitoring visit in order to assess the situation on site and to plan further effective relief measures.

In his current report Florian Klinner describes the experiences he gained in the mission area and the impressions he collected of the country and the people living in the affected region.

Florian Klinner travelled to Brazil in order to assess the situation after the devastating landslides. Photo: humedica

"The reddish sun is just rising over the horizon. It is shining through the plane window the moment the pilot prepares for landing. However, a look out of the window also reveals the extent of the disaster that took place here only a few weeks ago.

Across vast areas, the mountainsides of the region have slid down and on their rush into the valleys they carried along everything that was in their way.

Shortly after the landing, our journey takes us past the most famous sights of Rio de Janeiro. But it is not the Copacabana, not the famous statue of Christ "Cristo Redentor" and not the Sugarloaf Mountain what we came here for. We are on our way to the disaster region between the cities of Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis, which has been devastated by the landslides.

The base of our local partner humedica Brazil is located right in the centre of the affected region. As by a miracle, the base's buildings have been spared by the sliding masses of mud and earth.

However, the surrounding houses have been swept away by the force of the landslides - including furniture, cars and inhabitants.

It is true that clearing works are progressing. But still, about 400 persons are missing. Some hundred metres further on, we can smell the scent of decay.

For many people in the disaster region the shock is still deep. Above all the children are still extremely frightened. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

Sudden and heavy rainfalls continue to pour down time and again. Then, the inhabitants of the surrounding area take shelter in the buildings of the base of humedica Brazil. Children start crying. The expression on the adults' faces is serious. The shock caused by the disaster that hit the area at night a few weeks ago is still deep.

So deep that many children even become scared when having a shower. The sound of pattering water reminds them too strongly of the sound of the masses of mud and water rushing down the mountains in the night of the disaster.

This Sunday we are planning to drive to a village located at about one hour's drive away. It has been made accessible from the outside world only a few days ago. Before that, it had been completely cut off public life and relief aid due to the torrential weather.

Because of various delays, we can only start out one and a half hour later than planned. The driver has had difficulties reaching us. After a short drive on asphalt roads, we turn into an earth road.

The ground is wet and soft and the road hardly passable. With our off road vehicle we have to zigzag around deep holes filled with water and mud.

Shortly after arriving at the village, we are surrounded by curious inhabitants. We have brought drinking water for them and babies' nappies that are urgently needed for the children.

Thanks to the donated relief goods we are able to provide the people here at least with the bare necessities.

humedica has been supporting the victims of the disaster in Brazil for weeks now. In the picture: humedica doctor Dr Irmgard Harms. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

The inhabitants of the village want to give us some of the puppies that are plodding around everywhere. The puppies look ill and undernourished and they will probably not survive. Although it is hard on us, we cannot take them with us.

Poverty is a very serious problem here. That becomes all-too clear to us again and again. The landslides in the region surrounding Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis have contributed to aggravating this problem even more."

Dear friends and sponsors: as mostly is the case, those affected worst by the disaster in Brazil are those who had been forced to live in extreme poverty even before it. humedica would like to stay at the victims' side and help them to set up their existence once more after the landslides. In order for us to realise these plans, we need your support.

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Landslide Brazil"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also donate for Brazil using our online form, or support us by means of a Family Sponsorship or by sending a text message: send the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and make a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros being directly channelled into the humedica project work. Thank you very much!

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