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Baptists join to help Australia, Brazil flood victimscomment (0)

January 20, 2011

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is encouraging Baptists in Australia and Brazil as they grapple with the after-effects of severe flooding that devastated parts of their countries.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said, “We are heartened that our Baptist brothers and sisters in these countries are rising to the challenge to offer prayer and material support to those who have suffered.”

A series of floods caused from record rainfalls and a compromised dam have affected the Australian state of Queensland since December 2010. The deluge resulted in severe damage in about 70 towns, including the capital, Brisbane, the deaths of at least 30 citizens, and the evacuation of thousands.

Baptist Union of Queensland General Superintendent David Loder indicated that maintaining contact in the affected areas proved difficult because of “phone outages and phone congestion.”

At press time, there was news from only 15 percent of the Baptist churches, or about 35 congregations, that are in the disaster zone in Queensland. Loder said this “nowhere near represents the story of the tragic events that have been experienced by people in these communities.”

The Baptist Union of Australia, Queensland Baptists, and the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA, have appealed to their constituencies for donations and funds to assist victims of the flooding.

In Brazil, flooding in the mountainous regions of the state of Rio de Janeiro beginning Jan. 11 led to massive mudslides and the deaths of more than 500 persons, mainly in the cities of Teresópolis, Nova Friburgo, Petrópolis and Sumidouro.

“We need a massive mobilization of Brazilian Baptists who are close to places affected to welcome our brothers in Christ,” a release from the Brazilian Baptist Convention said. The Central Baptist Church in Teresópolis, one of the cities that suffered heavily, is housing 37 persons who were displaced by the flooding. Rio de Janeiro has been badly affected by a series of devastating floods in recent times. At least 85 people died in floods and mudslides in January 2010, and a further 212 deaths occurred in another flooding episode four months later, in April. (BWA)

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