Brazil: Government still failing disaster victims

Globo news returned to the towns stricken by January’s deadly landslides and found thousands of people still living in churches and schools, and more returning to the homes the government has declared too dangerous to inhabit. Most of those Globo talked to said they’re stuck because the government has so far failed to pay out promised rent assistance.

In Teresopolis, one of the hardest hit cities, 3,500 families are asking for rent assistance, but local officials say they only have enough money to pay 2,500. In another city, Nova Friburgo, 340 families still live in shelters and 1,720 are still waiting for the $310 in monthly rent assistance that would make it possible to find a new home.

Meanwhile many neighborhoods remain devastated. Some unemployed people scrape together a living by breaking down the boulders that destroyed their homes and selling them to construction companies. Others search the wreckage for scrap metal.

In one of the worst hit neighborhoods, Campo Grande, electricity was restored just last month. The closest bus stops two miles away and supermarkets and other shops remain closed.