floods in Brazil

As tens of thousands of people cope with the aftermath of the flooding, we want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers,” wrote Pillay in a solidarity letter to the leadership of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB).

Thousands were forced from their homes by the storms, which started on 4 September.

Hail and more than 300 millimeters of rain were dumped on the state of Rio Grande do Sul in less than 24 hours, triggering floods and landslides.

The death toll from the cyclone has risen to 41, authorities said on 8 September. 46 people continue to be missing.

State governor Eduardo Leite said the death toll is the highest the state had ever seen due to a climate-related event. 

The storm, which was classified as an extratropical cyclone, hit over 80 municipalities in all, affecting more than 135.00 people, authorities said. It has left more than 3,046 people homeless and over 7,700 displaced. 

The Rio Grande do Sul floods are just the latest recent natural disasters in Brazil. More than 50 people were killed in Sao Paulo state this year after massive downpours caused landslides and flooding.

Rev. Dr Mauro de Souza, second vice president of the IECLB, and member of the WCC central committee said: “Climate change severely affects the entire planet. Large amounts of unexpected rain catch communities by surprise, causing death and destruction, pain and suffering. The IECLB calls on the entire church to unite in prayer and actions of solidarity, so that suffering can be alleviated. God of life, hear our cry.”

Archbishop Jaime Spengler, president of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Conference of Brazil, said: "These tragedies are reminding us, once again, of the importance of caring for the climate and our common home, which is sending signals that alert us to the need to respect and cultivate what is necessary so that mother nature can continue to offer what we all need. we need: living conditions.”

Pillay prayed for the regions continued strength. Please accept our condolences and our hopes for healing and renewal,” he said. We stand with you as you face the pain of lost loved ones, destroyed homes, and disrupted lives.”

Pillay also noted that extreme weather events have been affecting states and regions worldwide these last years. Unfortunately, its clear that the impacts of climate change are leading to more extreme - and more regular - situations like these,” he said. Unless we work together to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change then we have no hope of improving and protecting the Earth and all its inhabitants in future.

The IECLB Synod of Taquari River is coordinating a solidarity campaign to raise funds to help the victims.

More information on the IECLB solidarity campaign

Read the full text of the WCC solidarity letter

church temple affected by the rain in Roca Sales, Brazil

The IECLB temple in the town of Roca Sales was one of the many affected by the floods in the region of the Taquari Valley, South Brazil.