One of the municipalities most affected by the flood of the Taquari River, Lajeado seeks to rebuild the city and the routines of its citizens while keeping an eye on the impact of the rains that hit the State in the early hours of this Saturday (9): the Taquari river rose 1.62 meters since the last measurement, reaching 14.08 meters recorded early Friday night (8) at 15.7 meters.
According to pastor Mário Hartmann, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB), the main focus of volunteers at the moment is relocation of displaced people and ensuring conditions so that people can live in their homes again, which puts the focus on the search for donation of mattresses, blankets, sheets and towels.
In the beginning, immediate relief actions focus on meeting basic needs. “We had members of our congregation who were on the roof for almost 14 hours”, says the pastor. “When they realized it, there was nothing left to do, they could only ask for help. There were so many people asking for help that it was impossible to respond, and it was not a job for laymen, it required technical knowledge.” At first, the priority was to provide dry clothes and food. Due to the mive donation, some cities in the region have already reached their storage limit.
Although most of the house cleaning work has already been carried out, another part depends on the restoration of electricity. “There are still many houses that people have not been able to return to or clean, not because of weather conditions, but because of the difficulty in accessing water and electricity”, explains the pastor. In these cases, which require the use of a car wash, the return will take longer. “An electrician is required to evaluate and do what is needed, and many houses also needed to build a light box.”
Furthermore, there is also the challenge of those who will need to rebuild houses from scratch. Hartmann says that, in just one small street in the city, six homes were “ripped” from the ground by the current, leaving only the floor in place. The pastor notes that there is a community effort to welcome these people. “Many displaced people have family and friends in unaffected areas,” he explains.