Solidarity on a Jeep
Wednesday, 16 de May de 2018
See how the Jeepers used their vehicles to rescue victims and distribute donations during floods and other calamities
The floods that devastated the state of Pernambuco in Brazil in May of last year, left a trail of destruction in the state. More than 40,000 people were affected and nearly 3,000 lost their homes. In that desolate scenario, great humanitarian gestures multiplied in rescues efforts and donations. And for many disaster victims help came from Jeep.
Solidarity motivated several Jeep clubs from the state, such as Recife’s Jeep Willys, Anarquía Jipera, Equipo Papa Trilha and Jeep PE (Pernambuco), to join the campaign distributions of donations and assist the populations that most affected by the floods. In one action, about 40 jeep volunteers distributed nearly two tons of supplies, including water, food and clothing, among others, in the municipalities of Sirinhaém, Palmares, Ribeirão and Rio Formoso.
The actions were guided by the state government, which received donations at collection points spread over several cities, including the state capital, Recife. These donations were distributed with the support of volunteers. One of the jeeper groups, the Nudec-PE, actively participates in the Community’s Nucleus of Civil Defense, as volunteers. The Nudec-PE 4X4 was formed in April 2017, by Jeepers and radio aficionados.
“We received two days of training in Civil Defense, with courses on first aid, victim rescue and firefighting”, recalls Artur Rangel, owner of a Jeep Willys affectionately nicknamed “Road Samucito,” as a reference to the Emergency Mobile Assistance Service in Brazil (Samu). Dr. Rangel is the racer and creator of the Nudec-PE 4X4, currently with 20 members. “I had heard of similar initiatives in other states and I decided to bring this idea to our state,” he says.
The initiative worked. Rangel explains that the performance of the Nudec-PE volunteers in the floods was essential because there were almost inaccessible places with fallen bridges and lots of mud. “Many times the donations were distributed to the prefectures of the municipalities in critical situations, but they could not reach where they were needed the most because these populations were almost completely isolated by the floods”, he recalls. “With our Jeep vehicles we managed to overcome obstacles and access areas that other vehicles cannot. We managed to get there”, he adds.
Erasmo Moraes, president of the Jeep Willys PE club and one of the members of the Nudec-PE, proudly comments on the results of the voluntary actions developed to help flood victims in Pernambuco. “Overcoming obstacles, riding in hostile terrain are things we do often for fun on dirt roads, so it’s a source of pride when that has a greater purpose”, he highlights. The entrepreneur Diego Sousa, a member of the Jeep PE club, who also participated as a volunteer, agrees. “The feeling of helping a person who is in a critical situation is very gratifying”, he says.
Even after the flood, the solidarity initiatives carried out by the Jeep clubs continued to spread through Pernambuco and Brazil. Periodically, the groups carry out campaigns for the distribution of donations in communities farthest from urban areas and even to help organizations that support people in situations of social vulnerability.
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