As a proud Australian and long time Brisbane resident, I have had the discomfort of witnessing firsthand the devastating effects the recent floods have had on the communities around me. A tragedy that has so far seen 18 deaths with many more still unaccounted for, it is to be remembered as one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the area. As the clean up now begins, it makes me proud to see the way in which the people of Brisbane and Australia have united to help each other out, seeing to date $85 million dollars raised and many hours of physical labour volunteered to help clean up the mess and set the victims on the road to recovery. While the media here in Australia was covering the story brilliantly, with rarely any other story rating half a mention, a far greater tragedy was taking place over on the other side of the world.
On Wednesday last week Brazilian municipality Rio de Janeiro, home to over 14 million was hit with a month’s rain fall in just 8 hours. Caused by the La Nina phenomenon, it has seen havoc created across much of the region including huge floods and catastrophic mud slides. Latest reports confirmed over 600 dead with those on the ground expecting to find hundreds more as the clean up continues.
The main concerns now for municipal officials is the growing risk of epidemics breaking out as bodies decompose in the tropical heat and water continues to run off. With food, water and supplies struggling to get into the area with many roads having collapsed during the disaster, grave fears are held for many of the survivors.
Former Brazilian F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jnr. has set up a relief fund to help those affected and I urge you to donate if possible or to at least keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers. Nelson will be matching dollar for dollar any donation that you put forward. Donations can be made through PayPal via the following address:
Stay tuned to the Latest F1 Updates page for more information from Nelson and fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello as the clean up continues.