It was exactly one year ago today that a message began to circulate through email and Christian websites claiming that a team of American missionaries had resurrected 16 victims of the floods and landslides that had devastated the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, resulting in at least a thousand deaths.

Due to factual inconsistencies in the story, compared to my understanding of events as I had experienced them in the aftermath of the disaster, it immediately raised my suspicions - suspicions which were further confirmed when the supposed newspaper front page that accompanied the story was quickly shown to be a fake. Sadly, my many attempts to make contact with the team and with those propagating the story, met with responses ranging from silence to some quite aggressive replies! Eventually, the newspaper front page was admitted to be fake, but the principal parties promoting the story, the Healing Herald site and Bethel church in Redding - CA, maintained that the story was true.

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CRU deployment to Além Paraí­ba - 14 January 2012

This Saturday, the 14th of January, three members of our Crisis Response Unit, including myself, visited the city of Além Paraíba, in the neighbour state of Minas Gerais, together with a team from the Nova Friburgo Red Cross chapter. We took supplies of food, water and other donations, and also visited a shelter for victims of the recent floods and landslides there.

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Remembering the tragedy of 12 January 2011

Today, the 12th of January 2012, is exactly one year since the devastating flooding landslides that hit the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, and especially the city of Nova Friburgo, resulting in an official death toll of nearly 1,000 and a probable total of around 3,000 fatalities. Our Crisis Response Unit participated in a public meeting in the town square, where a community emergency plan, in which we participated, was also presented. Here are some photos of that event.

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New Year's day 2012

On New Year's day, around 9 pm at night, we were told by the local Residents' Association vice-president that, due to the heavy rain that was falling and forecast, all the at-risk areas in the city were placed on alert. As our suburb of Cordoeira has a siren system to warn residents of impending danger, we opened the Association hall as an Evacuation Area and staffed it overnight, in case the alert was sounded to evacuate the danger zones.

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