UNICEF supports Brazilian Government in response to rains in Rio Grande do Sul

08 May 2024

BRASÍLIA, 8 May 2024 - Ensuring the protection of children is a priority for UNICEF amidst the heavy rains and floods in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, since last week. In this emergency scenario, UNICEF is organizing technical assistance actions with the Federal and State Governments, especially from Social Assistance, Civil Defense, and Human Rights, and with civil society partners.

UNICEF's support is based on the following areas: needs assessment on the situation of children, adolescents, and women in temporary shelters; technical support for the identification, referral, and reunification of unaccompanied and separated children; and distribution of 3 types of kits to shelters: educational kits; menstrual hygiene and protection kits for adolescent girls; and kits with guidance on water storage, baby hygiene, and disease control.

"In a context of temporary sheltering, it is essential to assess the situation of children, adolescents, and women," said Gregory Bulit, Emergency Coordinator for UNICEF in Brazil. To do this, UNICEF will conduct a survey in partnership with the Civil Defense and the State Department of Social Assistance, in more than 90 shelters in Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul State), to understand the needs of children amid the emergency situation.

At this moment, 662,000 people are in temporary shelters with varying levels of infrastructure, with reported cases of unaccompanied and separated children. To support in this regard, UNICEF is providing technical support to the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship (MDHC) in the identification, referral, and reunification – where applicable – of these children and adolescents, as well as engaging in risk communication actions with shelter managers to protect the rights of this highly vulnerable population.

Simultaneously, 34 educational kits – called "Play and Learn" – will be sent in the coming days to Rio Grande do Sul, to be forwarded to shelters through a donation to the Civil Defense, containing educational items and recreational games, benefiting more than 3,000 children. Along with the kits, child-friendly spaces are planned to be created in shelters where these kits will be delivered in the coming weeks. Kits related to menstrual hygiene and protection for adolescent girls, as well as kits focusing on guidance on access to clean water, baby hygiene, and prevention of waterborne diseases, are also planned to be delivered to shelters in the coming weeks.

To provide technical assistance in children's and adolescents' rights, UNICEF is participating in a mission of the Ministry of Social Development (MDS) and the MDHC to the State as part of the implementation of these activities, as well as to evaluate other response modalities and additional needs with civil society partners operating in the territory.


Notes for editors:

About the rains in Rio Grande do Sul

The rains in Rio Grande do Sul have caused a trail of destruction in the State and have led to the declaration, by the Civil Defense, of a level III public calamity alert, the highest in the country. According to the latest bulletin from the Civil Defense, as of Wednesday, 8 May, there are 414 municipalities with over 1.4 million affected people and nearly 159,000 displaced, with 83 deaths recorded so far. There is still a forecast of rains for the coming days in parts of the State, and services such as water supply are severely affected in the capital Porto Alegre and other municipalities.

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