It was late on Tuesday, June 30th. José da Silva was doing household chores at home when he saw a strong wind in the street and went to close a window.
The 74.5-miles-per-hour wind (120 km/h) wouldn’t allow da Silva to close the window, however: a cyclone had hit the city of Governador Celso Ramos, in Brazil’s Santa Catarina state.
Silva ran to his wife, who was in another room, and held her while the house was untouched in the storm. “I only had time to protect my wife,” he said.
Hundreds of families in Santa Catarina were affected by the “cyclone bomb” that swept through southern Brazil that day. The most affected municipality in Santa Catarina was Governador Celso Ramos, in Greater Florianópolis. In all, 817 families were affected, 33 homes were destroyed. Sadly, one person died.
“The destruction was great. After those few minutes it looked like a post-apocalyptic scenario. In addition to the affected homes, we had gyms and public buildings [affected]. No one had ever seen that. It was then that ADRA contacted us to offer help,” said Mayor Juliano Duarte Campos.
The Adventist Development and Assistance Resources Agency (ADRA) approached City Hall for information on how to help. “We realized that the urgency was not for basic [items]. The need was … varied. For this reason, we decided to help in a different way and allow people to choose what they needed,” said Daniel Fritoli, an ADRA coordinator in southern Brazil.
Aid to begin again
The organization's team visited hundreds of residents affected by the cyclone in the city and analyzed each household’s situation. In all, 163 families were selected and on Thursday, July 23, each received a debit card with U.S. $110 (Brazilian Reals $580.00). The funds came from ADRA International and ADRA in South America. “We tried to alleviate the suffering of these people a little. This was not God's plan [that they] suffer. We tried to show them that God exists and that one day He will return [so they can] have a life without suffering,” Fritoli added.
“Our moment is to rebuild the population's self-esteem and ADRA is an example of partnership. Thank you,” Mayor Duarte Campos said. Fritoli noted the focus is on helping people on an emergency basis and in social development.
José Silva was one of the beneficiaries. He was happy because he recognizes God's care. “He sometimes allows these things to be closer to Him. The world is turned away from God. This card here is proof that He does not forget His children,” Silva, with his wife at his side, declared.