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"Rain rain, it rains incessantly and flows into the river of tears.

The images that invade the screen of the TV are rubble. There is destruction everywhere, muddy, potholed streets, raised sidewalks, open sewers, water pipes destroyed, families fleeing their homes because of flooding.

Outside it's pouring down rain. I do not run a risk, but in some municipalities of Rio de Janeiro population suffers. The sludge-filled rivers overflow , invade all the room , there are no barriers to retain its water.

It is a river of tears, as in the movie Dr. Victoria Fahlberg. In 1996 she called U.S. asking me to join data on the flood in which my house became a shelter and she and other friends helped me. This work was for post-doctoral course in major disasters. They studied at Harvard, the Victoria and Dr Lenny Smith. They stayed a week in Brazil, in my house and how I learned.

Floods are part of my life.

For years I lived with the ghost of the waters of Rodrigues de Freitas Lagoon, south of Rio de Janeiro, invading my shack in the slums of Praia do Pinto.

The Government decimate an OS which are resources intended for Reconstruction and prevention of these disasters.

Why not change this situation? The Government does not create strategies to minimize this pain.

The where are the resources to prevent these disasters?

I learned to work with flood victims. My teachers were with their flooding rains.

Many individuals are united in support of victims. All work to raise funds for people, minimizing the loss with flooding.

My teacher was rain.

We are left asking only for God's mercy and that he retains the waters of Heaven

See the pictures: River-Of-Lágrimas


anju's picture

Great job

That's so good of u. May God give u more courage, protect u and make u the guiding lamp for many.

Victoria Fahlberg's picture

River of Tears

In 1996 Valeria and I were working in the City of God together, one of the favelas that was devasted in the flood. Because of our years of working in the City of God, and because of the years that Valeria had spent living there, we were able to help in some of the disaster relief. Unfortunately, the "disaster relief" was in many ways a disaster itself. In 2000 I was taking a course in Disaster Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and I and a colleague decided to do a documentery for the course based on my personal experience of living through this disaster.

The subsequent film, River of Tears, documents how this natural disaster occurred, how people were impacted, and what could have been done differently, in the short term and the long term. Not only were many of the victims of the flood re-victimized by the poorly designed government interventions, but not enough was done to prevent a similar disaster a decade later. Although I was not there for the second flood, Valeria has lived through both. And twice now she has had to watch the devastation, the lack of a solid disaster management plan, and finally, the revictimization of the victims of the flood.

So much has changed in Brazil since I left in 1997. But what seems to stay the same is that some people are still throw aways. Their lives do not seem to hold the same value as the lives of others and so plans to prevent disaster to these people is not a priority. If Brazil had a class system, those in the favelas would be at the bottom.

Living here, in the USA, I no longer look outside my window and see the kind of suffering, corruption, fear, and hopelessness that I saw every day of my life living across the street from the City of God. But Valeria doesn't let me forget. She is not my sister by blood, but in the City of God we found we shared a soul and heart. Even today her desire to make a difference pushes me to move past the complacency that is so easy living in America, even living in an urban city of high diversity and low income. It's not the same.

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