Human fraternity to help the brothers and sisters from Rio Grande do Sul

|June 12, 2024

Vinícius Maurício de Lima*

The Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal has Light, Peace and Love as a symbol for peace and human fraternity. Within this principle, brothers and sisters of the União do Vegetal from different regions in Brazil, and also from abroad, have helped with donations to the irmandade of the Núcleos and Authorized Distributions of Vegetal (DAVs) from Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil, which has been affected by intense and unprecedented rains.

Due to geographic distance, international donations are mostly financial, showing that, for the practice of human fraternity, there are no geopolitical borders. The combined efforts of brothers and sisters from Brazil and other countries have made it possible to help with basic needs and will help rebuild the homes and lives of members that have been affected.

The four Núcleos and two DAVs in the state, which are part of the Beneficent Spiritist Center’s 9th Region, are in municipalities whose general populations have been affected by intense rains. These include Porto Alegre (Núcleo Jardim das Flores and Núcleo Porto Alegre), the state capital located in a lowland area near Lake Guaíba which overflowed; Itaara (Núcleo Mãe Santíssima); Antônio Prado (Núcleo Bom Jardineiro); Erechim (DAV de Erechim); and Pelotas (DAV Pelotas).

According to a survey conducted by the Beneficent Association Casa da União Porto das Flores (@casadauniaoportodasflores), a local branch of the UDV’s Beneficence Department, 33 of the 175 families of members from the União do Vegetal in Rio Grande do Sul, consisting of elderly people, adults, teenagers and children, were directly impacted as a result of the intense rains in the state.

Of these, eight were left with their homes completely uninhabitable, six had significant losses and four had a total loss. All are being assisted with their basic needs through donations of blankets, clothing and shoes, food, personal hygiene products and medication, in addition to the logistics to relocate the homeless.

With the aim of supporting and directing the work of Casa da União Porto das Flores, the General Representation and the General Directorate of the UDV created an Administrative Support Group composed of members of the General Representation, the General Directorate, the Regional Directorate of the General Directorate in each Region, the Representative Mestres and Presidents of the Núcleos and DAVs in the state, the Department monitors, as well as some invited specialists.

In addition to assistance with basic needs, actions are being carried out for legal assistance in obtaining government aid, for psycho-emotional support, for the restoration of income generation, among other actions that will be defined according to the escalation of the flood situation in the state.

Flooding Impacts – Although on a smaller scale, the social and economic impact resulting from intense rains in Rio Grande do Sul can be compared to that of Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, the hurricane hit the southern part of the United States and caused hundreds of deaths, left thousands of people homeless and caused billions of dollars in damage to the economy, but it also enabled the practice of human fraternity, with the receipt of humanitarian and financial aid from several countries and international organizations.

In Brazil, data from the Civil Defense of Rio Grande do Sul informs that 94% of the state’s municipalities were affected. As of May 22, there were 2,341,060 people affected (about 21.5% of the state’s population), 68,345 in shelters, 581,633 homeless, 82 missing and 161 confirmed deaths; also, 12,358 animals were rescued. The intense rains also affected a large part of the state’s infrastructure, which closed the main airport and had highways blocked, causing serious consequences for the economy and people’s lives, with further evaluation still needed. The Government declared a state of public emergency.

Rio Grande do Sul has received assistance from all regions of Brazil, other countries, the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations. Since the start of the heavy rains, volunteers from different places have arrived on-site to offer health and social assistance support. Nevertheless, the rains are expected to continue and there is still concern about the proximity of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. After all, this is one of the Brazilian states with the lowest average minimum temperature, which gets down to less than 50ºF in some municipalities.

How to donate – The fundraising campaign to help the brothers and sisters of Rio Grande do Sul has the support of the branches of the Beneficent Association Casa da União in Brazil and abroad. To make financial donations, contact the Beneficence Department monitor of your Núcleo or DAV directly. Also, check with the Representative Mestre and with the President. Lend a hand to your brothers and sisters.

*Vinícius Maurício de Lima is a member of the Instructive Body of Núcleo São João Batista (Mairiporã-SP, Brazil).