Emergency Response: SOS Children’s Villages Brazil Facing Flood Crisis

In early May, severe weather events wreaked havoc on SOS Children’s Villages’ operations in the southern region of Brazil.

Operating in three key locations—Santa Maria, Santo Antônio da Patrulha, and Porto Alegre— SOS Children’s Brazil faced significant challenges, particularly in Porto Alegre, where floodwaters engulfed all 12 houses in the Children’s Village, the director’s residence, and the office.

Reflecting on the current situation, Alberto Guimarães, National Manager of SOS Children’s Villages in Brazil, said, “It’s a big challenge. The whole state is completely collapsed. Services are collapsed. We’re still in the rescue phase and the risk is still great, as heavy rain is forecast in the region for the next few days and this means that the waters will take a long time to recede.”

While the other locations escaped major impact, the situation in Porto Alegre remains critical.

Swift action was taken to relocate all individuals under our care to safety on 4th May, but unfortunately, the floodwaters quickly submerged the neighbourhood the following day. In total, 32 children and teenagers, as well as three families made up of six adults and another 10 children, were transferred to safety.

With the closure of the airport, the bus station and the blocking of the main access routes to Porto Alegre, it is not yet possible to deploy new teams to support the area. This means that currently, SOS Children’s Villages Brazil can only work with local employees, who are working tirelessly to ensure the best conditions for all those in our care.

The impact of this environmental disaster is significant, affecting over 204,000 people and impacting more than 1.1 million residents across 385 towns in Rio Grande do Sul.

In response to the crisis, SOS Children’s Villages Brazil is gearing up to launch a new humanitarian initiative, providing financial support, basic necessities, hygiene supplies and shelter to those affected.

SOS Children’s Villages Brazil is also deeply concerned about the Venezuelan refugee families in the region facing yet another crisis. Through their partnership with the UN agency for migrants (UNHCR), SOS Children’s Brazil has supported refugee families coming from Venezuela to Brazil since 2018 and are committed to providing support to these families as they rebuild.

Plans are in place to expand services and assist these families directly, as well as preparing for the process of restoring and strengthening families in the community once again, but securing the necessary resources remains a challenge, especially with ongoing flooding impacting infrastructure.

SOS Children’s Villages is currently supporting vulnerable children, young people and families through 49 humanitarian projects, across 24 countries. To support this work, please consider donating to our Emergencies Fund.

Stay up to date