Incessant rain over the past two weeks has triggered fatal landslides and flooding in areas around Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In what is already being referred to as Brazil’s worst natural disaster in half a century, 540 people have perished across the cities of Nova Friburgo, Teresópolis, and Petrópolis, and scores of others are missing.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have approved funds to purchase large quantities of tarps, blankets, basic food, hygiene kits and especially clean drinking water for those affected by the devastating floods in Brazil.

Though the exact numbers are still uncertain, due to disruptions in communications and transportation routes, thousands of people in the affected areas have lost their homes in massive landslides.

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The government has opened shelters throughout the region and has committed $450 million in aid. Thousands of other families living on mountain slopes and riverbanks are considered to be at extreme risk.More than 13,000 people are seeking shelter from the rising waters. Medical relief services are being taxed by the high number of injured.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reports that all its missionaries serving in the affected regions are safe and accounted for. At least 125 Church members have lost their homes; 75 of these are being sheltered in the Teresópolis meetinghouse.

Church leaders are attending to the needs of displaced members, coordinating community response efforts with the Civil Defense and the Red Cross and are monitoring the changing situation.

See story at lds newsroom