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The path of destruction left by a landslide in Petropolis, one of several hillside towns north of Rio de Janeiro leveled by heavy rain this week. [photo courtesy SAD]
January 13, 2011 | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Felipe Lemos/ANN staff
Seventh-day Adventists are among those providing aid after heavy rains devastated the southeast region of Brazil this month, church leaders there said.
Most affected is the hillside region north of Rio de Janeiro, where rising water and ensuing landslides uprooted homes and claimed some 700 lives in recent weeks. Parts of the region experienced 10 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, with more forecast for this weekend, the Associated Press reported.
Adventists in the region are distributing food and personal hygiene products to help assist an estimated 100,000 people left homeless during the flooding. To support their efforts, regional church leader Montano de Barros is expected to visit the affected area.
Adventist media in Brazil is aiding flood victims by raising awareness. Those watching Adventist Media Center programming this week will hear broadcasts on how they can help flood victims through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Rio de Janeiro. An Adventist radio station in Teresópolis -- among the most affected towns in the region -- is regularly encouraging listeners to offer their financial support and donate blood to help victims.
In a statement, Erton Kohler, president of the Adventist Church in Brazil, thanked church members for their "solidarity and prayers" for the situation and applauded the swift mobility of the church's relief effort.
The nearby Petropolis Adventist Academy did not incur damage during the flood and no deaths in the Adventist community due to flooding have been reported, church leaders said. The school is serving as a hub for church members and volunteers aiding those affected by the flood.
As the search continues for missing people in the coming days, the death toll may rise, officials said.
Meanwhile, in eastern Australia, ADRA is working in partnership with Queensland government to provide aid in the wake of the region's worst flooding in decades.
Adventist-run health food company, Sanitarium, is supplying food for distribution to thousands displaced by the floods, church officials in Australia reported.
This week, Adventist administrative offices threatened by floodwaters in Brisbane were evacuated, church leaders said.
While most residents have been safely evacuated to community centers, "the extent of property damage and personal loss is still unknown," said Chris Olafson, ADRA Australia's Emergency Management director.
"This disaster will require a long-term community response," Olafson said.
-- Aleksandra Marek/Record staff contributed to this report