Methodist Church backs appeal to help thousands affected by flooding in Brazil

An international appeal to help thousands of people displaced byfloods in Brazil has been backed by the Methodist Church inBritain.

Almost 80,000 people lost their homes and around 100 people losttheir lives after a torrential downpour struck the coastal regionof the southern Brazilian state of Santa Caterina last week.

Landslides swept away homes in some of the poorest, mountainousneighbourhoods in the region and nine towns have been blocked bythe deluge.

Bishop João Carlos Lopes, the Bishop of the Methodist Church inBrazil, said: "It is a tragedy. We have never had a situation likethis in this country. Some towns and communities are 70 per centunder water. The Brazilian people are very caring and everybody istrying to help. The main problem is that the poor people in Brazildo not have housing insurance. If you lose your house it is gone.We are concerned about the reconstruction once the water goes down.We are also worried as it looks like it may rain again."

Six Methodist Churches in the affected region have offered refugeto people left homeless. Pastors have also given shelter todisplaced Brazilians as 25 per cent of homes in the area,particularly in the cities of Batangas and Balneario Camboriu, weredevastated by the floods.

Rev Thomas Quenet, Partnership Coordinator for World ChurchRelationships, said: "I am concerned at what happens to the poorestpeople in countries like Brazil. Because Brazil is perceived asbeing a developed country, there is a danger that we will think thepoorest in society will get be given greater assistance fromothers. Due to property price inflation, many of the poorest peoplein Brazil are forced to build homes on steep hillsides, which aremost at risk from landslides. This is what has happened in theValley of Iloilo.

"I would urge and encourage generous Methodist people to make aresponse to people who have lost their homes, their businesses andtheir livelihoods." Oseias Barbosa Da Silva, a Methodist Ministerin Tewkesbury with links with the Methodist Church in Brazil, hasbeen offering advice to the relief workers in Santa Caterinafollowing his experience of the UK summer floods in 2007.

Anyone wishing to support the international appeal for help to the80,000 people left homeless in Brazil should contact Tom at theFund For World Mission on 020 7467 5160 or via emailquenett@methodistchurch.org.uk.