Donations Finance Emergency Relief of Brazil Flood Victims
In February the executive committee of Rissho Kosei-kai's Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace, chaired by Rev. Yuji Numata, director of the organization's Dharma Missions Bureau, decided to donate three million Japanese yen for the emergency relief of victims of the torrential rains that hit southeastern Brazil in mid-January. The donation was made to the Brazilian Red Cross.
The torrential rains in mountainous areas of the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo caused massive flooding and landslides, resulting in extensive damage and loss of life. According to reports by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the death toll from the disaster surpassed 800, and more than 400 people were missing as of the end of January. The Rio de Janeiro state government said more than 30,000 people were living in evacuation shelters set up in such places as local churches and schools, and that rescue operations were far from smooth due to the damage to bridges and roads.
On February 10, Rev. Takayuki Nagashima, minister of Rissho Kosei-kai of Brazil, together with two local members of the Brazilian branch of the Focolare Movement, a worldwide Catholic lay movement based in Italy, visited the Red Cross's São Paulo branch to present a letter detailing the contribution of three million Japanese yen to Ms. Aline Rosa, director of its social project department. Rev. Nagashima described the spirit of the Donate-a-Meal Movement and said Rissho Kosei-kai members taking part in the movement pray that their donations will help others. Ms. Rosa described the current conditions and rescue efforts, and expressed thanks for the donation. The money will be used to buy and distribute relief supplies, including drinking water and powdered milk.
Rissho Kosei-kai of Brazil followed the advice of Brazilian Focolare members in entrusting the Brazilian Red Cross with the donation.
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