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ACT Appeal Brazil: Floods and mudslides - LABR01

Fecha de publicación

Appeal Target : US$ 112,233

Geneva, August 17, 2000

Dear Colleagues,

The heavy rains fell in July and the beginning of August in the Brazilian States of Pernambuco and Alagoas have left more than 70 people dead - drowned or buried by landslides - and 100,000 homeless. Material damage has not yet been calculated, but it is estimated that 8,000 houses were destroyed. There has been total loss of crops. Communication between urban centers and the interior has been harmed by the destruction of roads.

25 Municipalities of the state of Pernambuco were affected. 5 Municipalities were declared in a state of emergency and 4 as disaster areas. The situation in Alagoas is more serious: 25 municipalities were declared disaster areas. Most of these areas are still isolated. As the rivers overflow, the danger of leptospirosis and cholera epidemics increases.

ACT member in Brazil, the Coordenadoria Ecumenica de Servico - CESE has requested ACT emergency funding and support to provide immediate emergency relief to 5,600 families through their regional members in the Pernambuco State. They will provide:

  • Food and water distribution
  • Materials for temporary shelter
  • Non food supplies as mattresses, blankets, raincoats and boots

Project Completion Date: 17 September, 2000.

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
- Cash
- In-Kind
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 102539/0.01.061 (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Genève 3

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Geneviève Jacques, Director, WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois, ACT Coordinator
Rev. Rudolf Hinz, Director, LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.


The Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço - CESE, a philanthropic institution, not-for-profit, registered as an organization in the public interest at municipal, state and federal levels, is governed by a General Assembly, a Board and a Fiscal Council constituted by representatives of the following churches: Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil, Igreja Metodista, Igreja Presbiteriana Independente do Brasil, Igreja Presbiteriana Unida do Brasil and the Roman Catholic Church. It has played a specific role as part of the ecumenical movement, intermediating relationships between funding agencies, the churches of other countries, churches of Brazil and people's movements, non-governmental organizations, eclesial and ecumenical organizations.

It is active in Brazil, giving priority to the North and Northeast regions.

Its objective is to affirm life and promote full citizenship, just and sustainable economic development and democracy with full respect for human rights. To this end, CESE promotes, advises, coordinates, funds and monitors social projects that contribute to the socio-economic development of socially excluded groups.

CESE's specific objectives are:

  • to channel funds to support social projects of organized grass-roots movements;
  • to contribute to coordinated action by different players within its network of relationships.

In order to fulfill its mission satisfactorily, CESE has sought to become a strong institution. It has designed and implemented a system of Planning, Monitoring and Evalution to this end. Certain important factors have favored its performance: a computerized network for project management; a bank of collaborators and consultants; publications and reports. In 1997 the experience of CESE in project monitoring was examined and reported on.

In the field of emergencies, during its 27 years of existence, CESE has gone to the aid of victims of natural and social catastrophes. It has dedicated special attention to the problem of living with drought in the Northeast, ending the burning of forests in the North, and ensuring workers' access to land all over the country. It has also served victims of the neglect of the authorities, which do not take preventive measures against the consequences of the rainy season, leading to disasters in large and small towns all over the country.


Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil - Recife Diocese

This is the regional structure of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Its headquarters is in Recife, but it is active all over the Northeast. From the beginning of the emergency, it has been trying to help the disaster victims, through campaigns in the churches and public places like shopping malls.

The IEAB is a founding member of CESE and has representatives in its General Assembly.

Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil - Pentecost Mission

The Pentecost Mission, as part of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, is active in the municipality of Jaboatão dos Guararapes, working with the poorest part of the population. It works with children and adolescents and serves as a stimulus and support to Christians engaged in social struggles.

Besides the Pentecost Mission belonging to a CESE member church, we also maintain relations with the social work developed by it.

Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST - Pernambuco

This is the state organization of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST). It works with landless workers while it seeks to ensure that recent settlers remain on the land. It coordinates a number of settlements in the Mata Sul microregion. It is organized at state level through a coordinating committee made up of representatives of settlements and camps.

The MST is one of CESE's main partners in the struggle for land reform in Brazil. We have cooperated with the MST throughout its existence, in its different stages of organization.


The rain fell in July and the beginning of August in part of the states of Pernambuco and Alagoas, in northeastern Brazil, leaving more than 70 people dead - drowned or buried by landslides - and 100,000 homeless. Material damage has not yet been calculated, but preliminary estimates speak of the destruction of 8,000 houses. There has been total loss of crops. Communication between urban centers and the interior has been harmed by the destruction of roads (landslides, etc.). In the state of Pernambuco, 16 roads were affected, among them BR 101 and 104, the main highways through the Northeast, while in Alagoas 630 km. of roads have traffic problems.

Twenty-five municipalities of the state of Pernambuco were affected. Olinda, Recife, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, São José da Coroa Grande, Água Preta and Barreiros are in a state of emergency. The municipalities of Palmares, Camaragipe, São Lourenço da Mata and Tamandaré have been declared disaster areas.

The situation in Alagoas is more serious still; 25 municipalities are disaster areas. Most of these areas were still, in early August, totally isolated, had no electricity and were cut off from the telephone system.

As the rivers overflow, the danger of leptospirosis and cholera epidemics increases.

What is most shocking is that three weeks before the floods the federal government suspended transfers of funds requested by the governors of Alagoas, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte, who were trying to anticipate and reduce the effects of the first rains on the population in areas of risk. Only after visiting the site and seeing the damage caused by the rain did the President authorize aid to the worst-hit areas. Estimates say that the government will have to spend double what was requested before the tragedy. Government funds are aimed basically at rebuilding public facilities.


To provide immediate food and non foood relief to the affected population by the floods and mudslides in the Pernambuco State of Brazil.

Specific Objectives

  • To provide a basket of food staples (one per family)
  • To provide non food relief as: mattresses, blankets
  • To provide material for temporary shelter :plastic sheeting.


5,600 families who lost their homes and belongins because of the rains in July and August in the State of Pernambuco.


IEAB - Recife Diocese

The Mata Sul microregion of Pernambuco is one of those most affected by the rainfall of the last month. The municipalities of the area are disaster areas (Palmares and Tamandaré) or in a state of emergency (Água Preta, Barreiros e São José da Coroa Grande). Before the disaster, this was already one of the regions in greatest economic difficulty because of the drop in sugar production, causing a great deal of unemployment: migration meant that small towns grew suddenly, without an accompanying growth in infrastructure. In the rural areas, workers have appropriated land but they do not have the support of infrastructure either.

The IEAB, together with other churches active in the region, especially the Roman Catholic Church, trade unions, community associations and NGOs are making coordinated efforts to serve the enormous contingent of families hit by the catastrophe. Half the population in the area is thought to be without a roof over their head or in great difficulty because of the rain.

The IEAB intends to help 5,000 families by providing drinking water, basic foodstuffs, milk, blankets, mattresses and plastic sheeting.

Situation of the area covered by the IEAB - Pentecost Mission

The request is for aid to families residing in Vila Esperança Emergente. This is part of the Curado IV quarter of the municipality of Jaboatão dos Guararapes, in Greater Recife, Pernambuco. The settlement is "made up of 2,500 families, living in conditions of poverty, unemployment and insecurity because of the frequency of violence in the area."

There is not even a minimal attempt at urban planning. Houses are scattered about haphazardly and built of materials available to each householder: masonry, mud and plastic. Because of the poor housing the state of the settlement hasa become more calamitous still with the rains; moreover, Vila Esperança Emergente is in a very hilly area about a kilometer long and 300 meters wide.

The terrain is red mud; the land is leveled and shacks built on the terraces formed that way. This puts many houses in danger in heavy rain. Some houses have already caved in and others are at risk.

Some families are being housed in the residents' association and the police station of the Curado quarter.The Episcopal Church is housing only one family, as the space is vulnerable.

The Pentecost Mission project intends to serve 300 previously registered families who are at risk because of the rain. The families are made up of an average of 7 members; children form the majority.

Situation served by the MST - Pernambuco

The MST has 15 settlements in the Mata region of Pernambuco whose crops were lost and do not have even subsistence conditions. The MST provided the families and the local authorities with 3 tractors and 2 trucks that are providing support to homeless families. In the town of Água Preta, in the sugar region, about 200 families' houses and crops were destroyed.

Fifty homeless families who had nowhere else to go are being housed at the MST Training Center in Olinda. In Olinda, too, the MST is working with the Civil Defense crews to rescue families and rebuild houses. Because of the rain and the number of people, the Training Center's kitchen collapsed, worsening the situation of the families and MST members there.

The MST's objectives with this request are: 1) to provide emergency aid to 300 homeless families in settlements and 50 homeless families in Olinda, located at the Training Center; 2) provide what is necessary for the trucks and tractors in the Mata Sul region to operate.


Food relief

One basket of food staples will be provided to each family. The basket will contain:

- One liter of Soya oil
- One tin of powdered milk
- 2 Kilos of sugar
- 2 Kilos of manioc flour
- 2 Kilos of beans
- One package of biscuits
- One Kilo of cornmeal flakes
- One package of no0dles
- 250 gr of coffee
- 200 gr of soap
- One package of toilet paper

Non food relief

Mattresses and blankets will be provided according to the needs. The people who lost their homes will be provide with plastic sheeting for temporary shelter. The families in Vila Esperança will also be supplied with raincoats and boots because of the threat of an outbreak of leptospirosis.

The homeless of the Mata Sul area of Pernambuco will also be given powdered milk and drinking water, as the region has run out of these items with the rains.

The MST, because of the special situation of putting its heavy vehicles at the service of removing families and debris, requires fuel.


All ACT appeal assistance will be administered and managed by the established structure, staff and offices of the CESE. The implementation of the appeal assistance will be accomplished by the CESE partners according to the implementation plan, with support from CESE staff.


One month

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