“Church Responds to Flooding,” Ensign, Feb. 2009, 80
Flooding in Brazil and Panama killed dozens and left thousands without shelter in late November 2008.
Days of heavy rain in the Santa Catarina state of Brazil in late November 2008 caused landslides, collapsed roads, and devastated the area, leaving at least 112 dead and more than 80,000 people without shelter.
More than one million people were affected by the storms. The greatest damage occurred in the southeastern part of Brazil, along the eastern coast. Landslides stopped transportation throughout the state, and at least eight towns were cut off by the floodwaters.
All of the missionaries serving in the Brazil Florianópolis Mission were reported safe and accounted for. At least 80 percent of the members in the Vale do Itajaí Brazil Stake were moved from their homes. Three meetinghouses in the area were partially flooded.
Members and other affected residents found shelter at the stake center as regional welfare specialists and civil defense specialists discussed how to best provide assistance. Part of that assistance was met by purchasing basic items with fast-offering funds to help local members in need.
Flooding in the western part of Panama caused damage to more than 5,700 homes and killed at least five people. The storms hit in late November 2008, causing five rivers in the Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro provinces to flood.
The rains caused a reported 60 landslides throughout the area, destroying at least 16 homes and damaging 85 more. In addition, more than 3,000 people fled their homes in neighboring Costa Rica.
At least 185 Church members in the area evacuated to the homes of friends and family. Two of three rented meetinghouses were flooded. Despite the weather, the missionaries serving in the Panama Panama City Mission were reported safe and were not evacuated. Supplies needed for the flood victims’ immediate relief were purchased with humanitarian funds.