Brazil: Pope sends donations to flood victims

The Archbishop of Porto Alegre and president of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), Mgr. Jaime Spengler, confirmed the Pope’s concrete gesture of aid to the population of Rio Grande do Sul. Through the Apostolic Chaplaincy, Francis sent the nunciature of Brazil a sum of approximately 100,000 euros, or more than 500,000 reais.

Thulio Fonseca – Vatican News

“We have been informed by the Apostolic Nunciature that the Holy Father has allocated a significant sum, through the Apostolic Chaplaincy, to help the homeless. This sum amounts to approximately 100,000 euros and will be transmitted to South Region 3 of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, the region that covers all of Rio Grande do Sul, to provide assistance wherever possible ». This was stated by Mgr. Jaime Spengler, Archbishop of Porto Alegre and president of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), Thursday, May 9, on Radio Vatican-Vatican News.

The concern of Pope Francis

At the end of last Sunday’s Regina Caeli, the Sovereign Pontiff had already expressed his solidarity with those affected by the heavy rains that fell on Rio Grande do Sul: “I want to assure you of my prayers for the people of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, who have been hit by great flooding. May the Lord welcome the dead and comfort their families and those who have had to leave their homes..

A closeness which has transformed into concrete help, as confirmed by Mgr Jaime Spengler. The amount donated by Pope Francis, in local currency of Brazil, exceeds 500,000 reais, a resource that will be managed by the South Regional Office 3 of the CNBB and which will be of great help to the inhabitants of Rio Grande do Sul .

The latest figures

Statewide, 425 municipalities were affected, with 100 deaths confirmed through Wednesday evening as well as 130 missing, 374 injured, 163,786 people displaced and 7,428 people in shelters. These figures, which are constantly updated, reflect the unprecedented floods that hit Rio Grande do Sul, in a context of new episodes of heavy rains and forecasts of violent winds, as well as the arrival of cold weather. The flooded Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre will remain closed until May 30.

The extraordinary work of volunteers

Bishop Spengler reports that in Porto Alegre, the state capital, “the water level has practically not fallen, and in low-lying areas of the city, flooding continues to rise”. However, the solidarity of the population was of great help: “I visited several places where the homeless are housed, and saw the extraordinary work that so many volunteers do with our communities. It’s a very nice job”.

The archbishop also described that “in the south of the state, in the region of Pelotas and Rio Grande, almost on the border with Uruguay, people are faced with the consequences of the waters that reach this region”. There, they had time to prepare, adds the president of the CNBB. “We can therefore say that their situation is a little better, but it has rained a lot in this region, which will certainly contribute to increasing the suffering of this population”.



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