From the 26th of March to the 2nd of April I visited the city of Nova Friburgo – RJ, Brazil with a delegation from Humedica in Germany. I participated in several events to commemorate 25 years of Humedica in Brazil.
From the 31st of January and the 13th of February, two of the CERT Brasil instructors and myself participated in a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project in the region of Mariana in the state of Minas Gerais. This region had been impacted by a mining residue collapse in 2015 and the recent disaster in the nearby city of Brumadinho had retraumatised the population.
Since we had prepared to hold a CERT course which was unable to continue due to a lack of participants, we decided to accept an invitation to hold a CERT course free-of-charge for twenty staff members from the Non-Governmental Organisation Humedica Brazil. The course was held from the 28th to the 30th of January and our newly-trained instructors helped teach the course in a voluntary capacity.
We had planned to hold a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course in the suburb of Cordoeira, Nova Friburgo – RJ starting on the 22nd of January. However, despite receiving 25 online registrations, only five people turned up for the course.
We ran the first two days of the course with help from the newly-formed CERT instructors and the Cordoeira Teen CERT group, and then decided to terminate the course early on the third day due to a lack of participants.
Back in Brazil on a short visit, I arranged to hold a Train the Trainer course for four of the volunteers from CERT Brasil. The course was held from the 18th to 20th of January and the newly-formed instructors will be helping with some CERT training and courses that we will be holding here in Brazil.
After a couple of quiet months back in New Zealand working full-time on my Masters in Emergency Management, on the 3rd of July I flew back to Brazil via Argentina and got to spend a couple of days in Friburgo catching up with folk before flying out to Puerto Rico via the United States on the 8th.
Sorry, no photos from this very quick trip!
On the 26th of February I left Brazil, almost exact 24 years after I first arrived in March of 1994.
Although I had visited New Zealand a number times since then, I am now officially no longer living in Brazil. However, the work with young people in the suburb of Cordoeira is continuing, and I do plan to visit in June on my way to Puerto Rico.
For the next few months I will be studying for a Master in Emergency Management through Massey University.
On the 17th of December I organized a CERT simulated disaster exercise with the help of two members of our Teen CERT group for the three CERT teams that I had previously trained in the city of Petrópolis - RJ. This project was undertaken in partnernship with the "Fortalecendo a Resiliência" (Strengthening Resilience) Project of the Instituto Fontes, with backing from the C & A Foundation and Save The Children and took place in the suburb of Morin.
Here are a few photos from the course.
On the 18th and 19th of August I taught another CERT course, with the help of one of our team members, in partnernship with the "Fortalecendo a Resiliência" (Strengthening Resilience) Project em Petrópolis - RJ, in the suburb of Estrada da Saudade.
Here are a few photos from the course.
Today I had the opportunity to give a short first aid lesson to a group of around 50 school directors representing the 18,000 primary school children in the city's public school network. Fortunately it went very well, and I should have some further courses coming up within the schools within the near future.
Here are some photos of the course, and of Bob the Rescue Manikin (who proved to be the star of the show and the subject of a number of selfie requests at the end of it!).
On the 4th and 5th of August I ran an accelerated CERT course for a group of volunteers in the suburb of Morin, in the city of Petrópolis (RJ) in partnership with another NGO. Twelve participants completed the course and received their certificates.
Here are some photos from the course.
Today I was able to take three of the teens from our group to visit the Air Force Aerospace Musuem and the Navy Cultural Centre in Rio de Janeiro city, a 150 km drive from our city, Nova Friburgo. In addition to seeing a number of aircraft at the aeorspace musuem, we were also able to visit a Navy battleship and submarine, and to see inside a SH3 Sea King helicopter.
Here are some photos from today:
I'm now back in Friburgo after spending that weekend ministering with a church in Belo Horizonte. There were very powerful moves of the Spirit on the Saturday and Sunday nights. There have been very few times I have seen so many children and teens so powerfully touched by the Spirit, as well as the adults.
Its now been just over three years since Nova Friburgo became the epicentre for Brazils worst ever natural disaster, when heavy rainfall caused landslides and flooding that killed an offical total of just under one thousand victims. Although there have been some signs of progress since then, many of the scars from that time period still remain. Today I took some photos around town to illustrate an article that I am writing for an emergency management publication, and I thought it could be interesting to also share some of them here.
Yesterday our response team, together with some of the teenagers that we trained in the Teen CERT program, participated in a city-wide Civil Defence evacuation simulation. Our team of ten responders, with the help of another eleven local Teen-CERT members, helped in the suburb of Granja Spinelli where the siren was activated and the local school was opened as a temporary evacuation point.
It was great to see how our teams worked so well together with the local authorities and other responders from the Red Cross and military.
Here are some photos from yesterday's exercise.
In June and July I ran three Teen-CERT courses in schools in Rio de Janeiro's mountainous region, in the cities of Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo.
These courses were part of an ongoing program run by Fundação Abrinq / Save The Children Brazil, in partnership with CARE Brazil and with funding from the European Comission.
We all thought that this year's rainy season, with the risk of flooding and landslides, had well and truly passed by the start of April. However, on Good Friday, the 6th, we had unusually heavy rainfall here in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, especially in the cities of Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis. In Friburgo we had some surface flooding, but fortunately no serious landslides, however Teresópolis was badly hit with both flooding downtown and landslides in some of the hillside communities.
This Saturday, the 14th of January, three members of our response teams, 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.
I decided to get up early today, my first day back in São Paulo, get my car checked out and serviced after it's three-month hibernation, buy some needed supplies for Friburgo, purchase a 3G internet plan and hit the road by about lunch-time.
A great plan! However, thinks didn't quite work out that way.