Buddha’s Light Relief Supplies Arrive in Brazil’s Flood-Devastated Cities

On April 29th, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, experienced its worst flooding in 83 years due to relentless heavy rainfall. This catastrophe resulted in 148 fatalities, with 127 individuals still missing, 806 injuries reported, and 615,000 people left homeless. Nearly a  million people have been affected by this unprecedented disaster.

In response, on the evening of May 14th, Ven. Miao You, the South America Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan, collaborated with Rita Reche, President of the Lotus Subchapter of the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Brazil Chapter, to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Together, they mobilized volunteers to load relief supplies generously donated by the public onto ten large trucks at the Zu Lai Temple. By 7:30 PM, these trucks were heading to the disaster-stricken areas in Rio Grande do Sul.

The delivery operation received essential assistance from transportation companies Hudson and Brigee. As the trucks departed, Brazilian truck drivers honoured the monastics and volunteers with a symbolic sequence of one long and three short honks, underscoring the spirit of solidarity. Each box and package of relief supplies carried the compassion and support of BLIA members. Notably, the first truck arrived on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month, coinciding with Buddha's birthday, marking a poignant moment in the relief effort.

In the early hours of May 14th, the region faced another round of storms, worsening the crisis. The Guaíba and Taquari Rivers in Porto Alegre, the state capital, continued to rise, leading to widespread flooding. Conditions deteriorated further with reports of power and water outages, and temperatures falling below 10 degrees Celsius.

Reacting swiftly to the escalating situation, on the evening of May 15th, monastics from  Zu Lai Temple, along with dedicated volunteers, loaded a second truck with essential supplies. This convoy included blankets, basic food provisions, bottled water, warm clothing, and hygiene products, embarking on a thousand-kilometre journey to the affected areas.

Zu Lai Temple continues to purchase and dispatch relief supplies, with plans for a third truck to be sent next week. This delivery will include blankets, food provisions, candles, matches, and hygiene products, aiming to meet the urgent needs of those affected.

The sudden flooding in southern Brazil prompted swift action from Zu Lai Temple and BLIA, exemplifying their unconditional loving-kindness and universal compassion. Additionally, the BLIA Paraguay Chapter contributed funds to support the BLIA Brazil Chapter in procuring relief supplies, further alleviating the suffering of disaster victims.

The compassion shown by the monastics and BLIA members is truly commendable, the heartfelt wishes to the disaster victims, with hopes that their hardship will soon end, allowing them to resume their lives as swiftly as possible.