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Climate disaster: Solidarity with Brazil’s call for action

As a sentiment that best expresses respect for human dignity, solidarity moves and stirs passions in Brazil in the face of the tragedy in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, hit by heavy rains and floods since the end of April.

«I don’t have the financial resources, but I was able to donate some clothes to the victims that I made with a lot of love and many hours on my work machine,» seamstress Zeffa Lacerda told Prensa Latina, who says that she has known about sacrifices since she was nine years old.

Lacerda, 49, also recalls her contribution when, in 2011, the biggest environmental disaster in national history occurred in the state of Rio de Janeiro. A landslide caused by heavy rainfall in the mountainous region left 947 people dead and more than 300 missing.

Now, a network of solidarity with the victims of the rains and floods has taken shape in Rio Grande do Sul where, to date, more than 140 deaths have been recorded and more than 130 people are unaccounted for.

Organisations and social groups, public officials, universities and individuals are trying to collect food and hygiene items to give to those most in need in the stricken state.

The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, together with local authorities and other structures, is maintaining efforts not only for immediate relief, but also focusing on the long-term recovery of the affected communities.

Lacerda believes that the catastrophe in Rio Grande do Sul once again puts Brazil to the test and «can become a very representative example of our capacity to respond to natural disasters».

According to authorities, the most urgently needed items are mattresses, water, pillowcases, children’s clothes and shoes, hygiene and cleaning products. The animals are also in need of food and guides. So far, donations are being received at the Medical Association of Rio Grande do Sul, the Grêmio Sports Club Arena, the Sport Club Internacional and the Araújo Vianna Auditorium, among others.


As expected, Lula visited the state on 2 May and said the priority is to save lives, after meeting with Governor Eduardo Leite.

«In the second moment, we are going to have to take care of making an assessment of the damage and, from there, start thinking about how to find the money so that people can repair the damage,» he said.

Three days later, the president returned to accompany the work of his administration in providing humanitarian assistance to those affected. Through social networks, he again affirmed that there will be no lack of federal resources in the territory.

«The federal government is in permanent dialogue with the government of Rio Grande do Sul and with the municipalities to support the region in whatever is necessary. We will spare no effort to help the municipalities suffering from the rains and save lives,» the Workers’ Party founder said.

In view of the acts of aid, the head of state recommended on 9 May the Nobel Prize to the Brazilian people for their solidarity.

«It’s a phenomenal thing, it had to have a Nobel Prize. It is a very supportive and generous people, although a minority is so perverse», he said, alluding to lies spread on social networks.

He pointed out that «never before in the history of Brazil had there been a disaster of this magnitude and solidarity of this magnitude, but every time there is a misfortune somewhere, the Brazilian people demonstrate», he remarked.

On Sunday 12 May, Lula paid tribute to Mothers’ Day and also showed solidarity with those in the southern region.

«I want to leave a message of solidarity to the mothers of Rio Grande do Sul, (a state that is) victim of one of the greatest environmental tragedies in the history of Brazil, you are not alone,» said the progressive leader in an official statement published on digital platforms.


In an unprecedented effort, Brazil completes the largest mobilisation of donations in the history of the national Civil Defence.

According to what the Minister of the Civil House, Rui Costa, recently told the press, two thousand tons of donations were sent to Rio Grande do Sul, a historic mark for the country in response to disasters.

He explained that the supplies, which include essential items such as water and medicines, are being operated by federal agencies, including the National Force and the Post Office. These supplies are destined for the areas most affected by the climate crisis.

New to the relief operations was the start of airdrops of donations using parachutes, which Costa said reflected the severity of the situation and the logistical difficulty of reaching certain isolated areas in the state.

The environmental tragedy also provoked manifestations of international solidarity. Nations such as Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Italy and Portugal expressed dismay at the dreadful scenario in southern Brazil.

Some countries have even offered voluntary aid to rescue the victims of the natural disaster.

Uruguay agreed to send a KC-130H aircraft (with crew), a Delfin Bell 212 helicopter, two drones (with operators) and rescue boats (with crew). For its part, Argentina issued a communiqué to express solidarity with the situation and opened channels to provide assistance to the victims.

«The government of Argentina offers the Brazilian authorities all the immediate help and elements necessary to assist the victims,» the document said.

Similarly, Venezuela’s foreign minister, Yván Gil, expressed his country’s willingness to provide assistance to Brazil.

«On behalf of President Nicolás Maduro, the government and the people of Venezuela, we express our solidarity and offer our support to the people and government of Brazil in the face of the effects of the extreme rains in Rio Grande do Sul,» Gil said.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, on her X account, expressed her regret at the weather phenomenon in the South American giant. «It is with pain that I learn of the terrible flooding that has reached Rio Grande do Sul, leaving the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil on its knees,» Meloni wrote.

Thank you for your solidarity with this region of Brazil, which also has so many descendants of Italians who emigrated to our country,» replied Lula.

Similarly, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Souza, acknowledged his concern with the «sequence of devastating floods affecting the state of Rio Grande do Sul», which is once again on alert for the risk of more rain and rising flood waters.

Paraphrasing the journalist, philanthropist, writer and doctor Adolfo Bezerra de Menezes, nicknamed the Doctor of the Poor, Lacerda said that «Brazilians in solidarity will always be united. Separated from each other we will be points of view. Together, we will achieve our goals,» he said.

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