January 31 2011

SOS Children's Villages in Brazil expands emergency response in the state of Rio de Janeiro

31/01/2011 - Following massive landslides and floods in the highlands of the state of Rio de Janeiro, thousands of homeless families are forced to live in temporary shelters and rely on help. SOS Children's Villages has started emergency relief activities in Nova Friburgo and is now expanding its support to children and their families in the heavily affected municipality of Teresópolis.


Child protection, educational support and recreational activities for children and youngsters, psychological support for care-givers and children are the main areas of intervention of SOS Children's Villages Brazil. In Teresópolis alone, 309 persons have died in the landslides and many are still missing; in total, more than 830 died, another 540 people are missing in the mountainous region north of Rio de Janeiro.

In Teresópolis, more than 6,000 people are displaced and have been given temporary shelter by the government. At more than 30 different locations, families are accommodated in tents which might serve as provisional homes for at least six months and possibly for up to two years. Last week, the country's President Dilma Rousseff announced that the state, the federal governments and a consortium of construction companies will build 8,000 free homes for the poorest families amongst the flood victims.

The SOS team in Teresópolis is concentrating on some 800 families with 1,800 children (aged 0 to 14 years) who are living at temporary shelters in the district of Albuquerque and on supporting social service staff in the emergency shelters and from the local authorities. In a first step, the families in the temporary shelters are being registered and their individual situation assessed. SOS Children's Villages will offer psychosocial help for children and parents and provide educational activities for children and youths. The emergency programme is scheduled to run until July. At the same time, SOS Children's Village will establish family committees to strengthen child protection under the given difficult circumstances and has offered to hold methodological training for shelter staff in how to support and counsel the families and children. SOS Children's Villages is working in close cooperation with the various local authorities (education, social development, health). If and how SOS Children's Villages will engage in the affected region in the long-term has yet to be assessed.

Read more about our emergency response in Nova Friburgo in our  previous report dated 20 January 2011.