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Brazil floods: Tauranga woman Gabi Wood sets up Givealittle page to help

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Rio Grande do Sul State disaster. Photo / Jeff Botega, @jeffbotega.

South Brazil is experiencing severe flooding, leaving many helpless, and Tauranga resident Gabi Wood is trying to help from afar.

Porto Alegre in South Brazil is Wood’s hometown.

“After watching several videos of what is happening in the south of Brazil, my hometown and feeling helpless living so far away I decided to create a Givealittle page to raise funds to help those who are in need.

“We have a huge Brazilian population living in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa and around the Bay of Plenty who now call New Zealand their home. I have friends here who have their families affected.”

Wood said she was motivated to set up a fundraising page when she saw many people she knew risking their lives to save others.

“It’s heartbreaking. I felt truly helpless for not being able to have my hands on to help out in this difficult time.”

“Since 29 April 2024, severe floods have affected the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil, resulting in cities being completely destroyed by floods, cities completely submerged.

“It has been considered the country’s worst flooding in over 80 years.”

Wood said 80 per cent of her hometown’s population had been affected and cities like Eldorado where she spent many years holidaying, was 100 per cent under water.

Wood has been living in New Zealand for the past 18 years and has been keeping up to date through social media and international newspapers.

“Friends and family are working tirelessly to rescue people and animals.

“There are more than 2,115,703 people who have been affected and more than 81,000 have been relocated to shelters.

“The ones who managed to stay at their homes have no water and no power in many areas around Porto Alegre.

“There are over 880,000 people with no water in Porto Alegre and surrounding areas. Many have no power and have been relocated to schools, universities, stadiums, places that can accommodate those victims that have lost their homes or cannot go back to it.”

Wood said though her family was safe, the situation was dire.

“Many friends have no house, no water or power. Many kids have been rescued and not yet reunited with their families. I’ve been trying to work on this sharing all the information I have as much as I can to bring people together in this cause.

“I haven’t been able to sleep much since all this happened and lots and lots of tears.

“At this stage, no one can confirm how many people have lost their lives, the last update I had was more than 145 confirmed deaths. Thousands of animals have been rescued and many have also died.”

She said the community had taken the most action in the situation.

In her opinion the Brazilian government took days to respond.

She said 85 per cent of rescues and support were done by the community.

“The state’s civil defence authority says a large number of people are still missing and over 447 cities are affected many of them are under water.

She said many countries – Uruguay, USA, etc and many other states of Brazil – were sending donations – food, clothes water, and medications – due to the high risk of leptospirosis and other diseases especially those who were working in temporary hospitals and rescues.

“Kiwis are very generous and I believe any amount that we donate towards this cause will help thousands of families.

“Unfortunately the reality of Brazil is nothing like in NZ. Not many people have house and content insurance there due to high costs so they will have to start from scratch [with] little financial support from the government.

“Please donate. We need your help. New Zealanders can be part of this cause by donating any amount.

“By donating $1 they will be getting $3 in Brazilian currency so any help any amount would contribute to the south of Brazil to get back to normality quicker.

“There are over 76,399 rescued people with their houses being destroyed or damaged needing to relocate and there were 10,555 animals rescued.

“We can’t just sit here and pretend this is not happening. There are thousands of kids needing our help.

“Thank you for your generosity.”

Use of funds

All funds will be directed to the aid agencies in Brazil (such as the Brazil Foundation and the SOS Enchentes) and those helping with the rescue effort (such as Gretha Schneider). The funds will be spent on water, mattresses, blankets, linen, personal hygiene items, food, animal food, medications etc.

Gabi’s Givealittle page:

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