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Operation Blessing Delivers Relief as Diseases Spread in Aftermath of Stunning Devastation in Brazil

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The aftermath of devastating floods in southern Brazil continues to take its toll. At least 169 people have died and more than 600,000 have been displaced.

The rush to get tents, medicines, and other critical supplies to the flooded South continues. Brazil's Air Force has been delivering that urgent aid this week as residents of Rio Grande do Sul now face a new threat to their state. 

"We've been having quite a few patients with symptoms of possible leptospirosis," said Carla Silvestre, a spokesperson for Brazil's Air Force.

The bacterial disease spread by rats is now affecting nearly a thousand people as parts of the state have been underwater for a month after catastrophic flooding ravaged the area.

CBN's Operation Blessing is on the scene right now deploying its resources and staff to the hardest-hit regions of Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul.

"Weeks after the disaster happened and the floods went through all this area, families lost everything, even hope," said Diego Traverso with Operation Blessing.

The aid agency has provided hot meals to nearly 50,000 people, distributing hundreds of solar lamps, and bringing clean water to those affected by weeks of torrential rain.

Operation Blessing is partnering with local ministries to bring critical aid to families like Rosangela's.

"The essential things we need are food and water," Rosangela said. "I feel blessed by God to have these things and to see people helping each other like this, to see everyone helping is a blessing." 

"{We are} partnering with the local church and local NGOs like the one you see behind me in this little warehouse. We are distributing food, hygiene and blankets," said Traverso. "We have families here lining up for hours to receive what Operation Blessing is bringing to them."

Health officials are now warning of more fatalities as the outbreak of waterborne diseases continues to spread.

"We've had several cases of gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A is also very common," said Silvestre. "There are a number of infectious diseases that we can come into contact with through contaminated water."

Access to healthcare is a huge problem now in the state. The floodwaters affected more than 3,000 health centers, like hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

Operation Blessing has responded by setting up staging areas in safe zones that are manned by teams of medical volunteers to attend to the sick and injured. 

In areas spared by floodwaters, Operation Blessing hit stores, shopping for cleaning supplies and other essential items that could help residents begin their rebuilding efforts.

***Want to Help Operation Blessing Give Hope to 1,000 Families in Brazil? Click HERE to Give Help

Hundreds of families have been receiving boxes and bags filled with immediate care packs, along with a time of encouragement and prayer from Operation Blessing staff and volunteers.

"We are still so committed to be here, to be a ray of hope in the name of Jesus for them," said Traverso.


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About The Author

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Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and of Indian descent, CBN News’ Senior International Correspondent and Co-Anchor, George Thomas, has been traveling the globe for more than 20 years, finding the stories of people, conflicts, and issues that must be told. He has reported from more than 100 countries and has had a front-row seat to numerous global events of our day. George’s stories of faith, struggle, and hope combine the expertise of a seasoned journalist with the inspiration of a deep calling to tell the stories of the people behind the news. “I’ve always liked discovering & exploring new