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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Utah resident among thousands trapped in Brazil because of devastating floods


SALT LAKE CITY — Catastrophic ​flooding in​ southeastern Brazil has​ left thousands of people stranded and displaced, with entire cities ⁣submerged under water.

Among those affected is a 24-year-old man from Tooele, Collin McEachern, who had flown to⁤ Porto Alegre for a two-week vacation with local friends. Unfortunately, his holiday took a disastrous turn.

“I had planned a ‍brief visit here,” McEachern explained, having arrived in Porto Alegre, ‌located ‌in the ‌Brazilian state of‍ Rio Grande do Sul, on April 26. He noted that the weather took a turn for ​the worse‌ almost immediately after his arrival.

“The⁢ rain was relentless and intense,” McEachern recalled. “They have never experienced this ⁤level of rainfall.”

By May 1, McEachern reported that evacuations were taking place in Canoas,⁢ a city ⁣with a population of 350,000 situated just north of Porto Alegre, a ​city‌ home to 1.3 million people.

“The city I’m ⁤currently ⁣in is half-submerged,” McEachern said. “Mathias (Velho), ⁢a city where hundreds of ⁤thousands of people reside, is‌ completely under water.”

McEachern and 11 others⁢ are currently sharing a ​two-bedroom Airbnb located on higher ground. They ‌have electricity but lack running or drinking water.

“We’re using chlorine ‍and pool water⁢ for personal hygiene. We fill up buckets‍ from the pool and bring them back up,” McEachern explained.

Despite his⁣ situation, McEachern considers himself fortunate. ​According to the BBC, at least 95 people have lost their lives, dozens are ⁣missing,⁢ and 155,000 have been displaced.

The airport in Porto Alegre ​is closed due to flooding, making travel‌ out‌ of the area challenging.‌ Many roads remain flooded or are ⁢congested with people ⁢trying to escape the disaster zones.

“The most populous part of the city has been swept away. I can’t even begin to comprehend what ‌those​ who have lost everything are feeling,”‍ McEachern said.

McEachern spends his days purchasing and distributing essential supplies from shelter to shelter.

The ⁤Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also contributing to⁤ humanitarian​ efforts. They have converted ​21 meetinghouses into temporary shelters run by volunteers and have donated thousands of basic food packages to Brazil’s civil defense. The Church ‌is also planning ⁤to send a plane from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre with supplies on​ Thursday.

“Everyone is doing what they can,” McEachern said.

Collin ‍is accepting donations through Venmo to buy supplies in Porto Alegre.

For more‍ information, click here.

Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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