VB-based organization works to provide needed supplies to flood victims in Brazil

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Locally based non-profit Operation Blessing is responding to some of the hardest hit areas, across the nation and world, following natural disasters.

Currently, they have teams on the ground in Iowa following devastating tornadoes, and in Houston following strong storms and massive power outages.

In addition to their missions in the United States, they also have team members on the ground in Brazil.

“We were here since 48 hours after the flooding happened,” said Operation Blessing International Director Diego Traverso. “So, we sent a team, first responder team with water capacity, logistic capacity, medical attention and we started doing what we do, which is assisting on the ground and then taking care of the needs.”

Virginia Beach-based team members for Operation Blessing are on the ground in Brazil working to help those impacted by devastating flooding in southern parts of the country. There have been more than 150 deaths as a result of the floods, many more are still missing and more than 400,000 were forced from their homes.

“We’re not talking about a couple blocks that were flooded, we’re talking about entire cities here,” Traverso said.

Traverso said that when responding, they have to look at needs as a whole and take a holistic approach. In addition to producing thousands of hot meals a day, they’re working to get clean water to families, he said.

“Clean water, especially in the area of wash, sanitation, cleaning, you know, like there is so many diseases that come up with this floating and all that, everything just mix it up, so you have to clean it and kill all the bacteria and everything that is on it,” Traverso said.

They’re also providing cleaning and hygiene kits and producing organic chlorine now that the water is going down.

“Chlorine is so important because of the contamination and pollution is so high on the water,” Traverso said. “Now that the water went down, they’re using it so much and it’s such a unique tool that Operation Blessing brings.”

Many of their volunteers on the ground have lost everything, just like their neighbors, but are still giving back.

“Even from the little that they have left, they offer you, you know, it’s something that it really touched my heart to see all this family,” Traverso said. “They are like, ‘Oh, yeah, don’t worry about myself, I’ll take care of my family later. Let me volunteer and help my own people.'”

Traverso said it’s been a busy year in terms of response for their international team and it’s not slowing down.

“We have the Ukraine war, we have Turkey earthquake, we had the Morocco earthquake, we have the Israeli war there,” said Traverso. “And then we have Acapulco with another hurricane there in Mexico, and now we have Brazil.”

Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs is also in Brazil, but in a different part, as they both work together to feed people and help them get back on their feet.

If you’d like to help with Operation Blessing‘s mission in Brazil, or any of their on-going missions, click here.

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