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Apr 8, 2010

The Highest Rainfall in Rio in 40 Years

The following was written and sent in by Gabriel Ponce, MonaVie's head of public relations in Brazil, which will give you a bit of insight into the devastation currently rocking Rio, followed by details of how you can help:

The storm that hit Rio starting Monday, April 5, has left 138 dead across the state. The areas west and north, and especially the regions near the center of the capital of Rio and city of Niteroi, in the metropolitan area, where the MORE Project is located, were the hardest hit, with floods and mudslides. According to the Civil Defense, as of this moment there are 72 deaths in Niteroi and approximately 14,000 homeless and displaced people throughout Rio and Niteroi. Mayor Jorge Roberto Silveira declared official mourning for a week – “Niterói has never recorded a rain like that.”

The city is practically closed. Even today, some of the streets that give access to other parts of the city are closed because of mudslides or flood. The mudslides are the main problem now, affecting the poor people who live in the favelas (slums), which are located on the hills.

The MORE Project assists people in 12 of the approximately 130 favelas in Niteroi. From those 12 favelas, Morro do Estado, Boa Vista and Juca Branco are the ones most affected by the mudslides.
In the Cova da Onça slums, a mudslide buried two houses with six people. A man escaped, but could not save his wife and his son, "I was sleeping, did not hear any noise or anything. When it came, came taking everything. I tried to save my wife and my son and I could not, man. Can’t find them," he said.

In the Juca Branco slums, one of The MORE Project students lost his one-year-old brother in a mudslide that hit half of his house.

All the favelas including Vila Ipiranga are in imminent risk. People are being advised to leave their homes immediately. Those who lost their homes were relocated to public schools, leaving behind their few material possessions.  They need mattresses, bedding clothes, blankets, towels, diapers, hygiene supplies, water and principally our love and prayers.

UPDATE: Since receiving this news from Gabriel yesterday evening the mudslides have taken another toll on one of the favelas, most recently destroying over 40 homes; 200 are missing as a result.

We’ll give you more information as we receive it. Short updates will be posted primarily to The MORE Project Facebook page and then to the MonaVie Facebook page, Twitter and BlogMV. Follow us via any of these links and you’ll be sure to get the most current info. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments section.

DONATE: The Niteroi Flood Relief Fund has been set up by The MORE Project. You can find links on The MORE Project Facebook page, as well as The MORE Project website. These funds will be sent to help those who have been impacted by the flooding.

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"Get me outta here, please get me out of here." That was the cry for help from Marcus Vinicius Vieira de France, eight years old, last Tuesday, April 6, in the Morro dos Prazeres in Santa Teresa, downtown Rio. Hours later, on Wednesday, April 7, he was dead upon being removed from the rubble, to the dismay of his father who pulled his body from the arms of firefighters and left screaming and crying amid the mire. The scene moved residents and the team who participated in the rescue.

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

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