New Campaign for Flood Victims

Brazil's bishops launched a campaign to aid victims of severe flooding that has left more than 500 people dead. Record rainfall in southeastern Brazil caused rivers to overflow their banks and triggered landslides that buried houses. News posted on the website of Caritas Brazil, the bishops' aid and development agency, told of rescuers trying to help people who were trapped, as bodies swept by in the river. The flooding has affected more than 1 million people in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais. Churches opened their doors to shelter people left homeless by the flooding and receive the bodies of victims. In the Diocese of Petropolis, where two cities, Teresopolis and Itaipava, were especially hard hit, Bishop Filippo Santoro expressed the church's "solidarity with the victims, those left without shelter or protection," and said he was "making parish buildings available to aid the victims." In a statement issued Jan. 13, the Brazilian bishops said: "We are deeply saddened by the growing death toll and the victims who lost their loved ones and watched as their homes and possessions were destroyed. ... We express our solidarity with the victims and call on Brazilian society to increase its donations to alleviate the pain and revive the hope of overcoming such an enormous tragedy." Caritas officials said they were using donations initially to provide drinking water, hygiene materials, mattresses, blankets, food and medicine to victims. The bishops called for a special nationwide collection Jan. 30.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Death-row inmate Ledell Lee. A ruling from the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was misleadingly obtained cleared the way for Arkansas to execute Ledell Lee on Thursday, April 20, 2017, although he still had pending requests for reprieve. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP)
To take Holy Communion in the face of death is to say that it is fellowship, and not food, that matters most.
Terrance KleinApril 26, 2017
A man rides a bicycle past a billboard with an image of Pope Francis April 26 ahead of the pontiff's April 28-29 visit to Cairo. (CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)
“Peace be with you” was the message of the Risen Jesus to his disciples on the first Easter, and it is the message Francis will bring to the Muslim and Christian communities in this land.
Gerard O'ConnellApril 26, 2017
Pope Francis is presented with a football helmet by Michigan football team coach Jim Harbaugh during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
Coach Jim Harbaugh presented a custom Wolverines helmet and a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers to Pope Francis.
Michael J. O'LoughlinApril 26, 2017
The 'Hamlet'-inspired play made the playwright Tom Stoppard an overnight sensation.
David StewartApril 26, 2017