- About Us
- Our Work
- Work With MSF
- Public Events
- Press Room
MSF in Brazil, 2010
All articles on Brazil »
In June, Alagoas state in northern Brazil suffered severe flooding: 34 people died, 54 were reported missing and 25,000 people were displaced from their homes.
In the days after the floods, an MSF team found thousands of people crowded into churches, schools and other public buildings.
“At one school, nearly one thousand people were sharing six latrines”, said Cristina Sutter, one of the first MSF psychologists to arrive. “The situation was chaotic in the bigger, collective shelters. There was a strong smell of urine and a major lack of hygiene”.
Large, temporary shelters had been constructed, and to improve living conditions MSF teams installed taps, showers and latrines where they were most needed. Teams also distributed washkits containing items such as plastic bowls, towels, soap and toothbrushes.
Having lost everything in the floods, many people were suffering from anxiety and depression. In the villages of Branquinha and Murici, MSF staff carried out 300 psychological consultations.
“Mental health support is essential, as it helps prevent psychological and mental problems from becoming chronic. It helps people restructure and start their lives again in a healthier and more balanced manner”, said Sutter.
After two months, the emergency phase came to an end. MSF handed over its activities to local authorities and other organisations at the end of August. MSF provided training to more than 200 local medical staff as part of the handover process, in order to ensure continuity of psychological care and to assist local organisations in improving their emergency response.
MSF has worked in Brazil since 1991.