Whilst continuing to support the people who have suffered greatly due to the recent floods, the hospital boat “Papa Francesco” has also started vaccinating people with doses provided by the local authorities.

The latest floods in the lower Amazon region have severely tested the survival skills of extremely vulnerable and isolated communities living beside the river. Within the space of a few weeks these people have lost their homes, completely submerged by the waters, as well as their boats and fishing nets, both essential for making a living.

This is why, once the waters began receding, the care and prevention project for the ribeirinhos has also been accompanying people in the challenging task of cleaning up and restoring their homes and wells that provide drinking water. Two vital projects to enable the ribeirinhos to return to their homes.

Aguinaldo – a married deacon and leader of one of the communities in the region – told us how badly affected his area was by the floods. Many, like him, lost their homes, their livestock and the small boats and nets they needed for fishing.Contributions received from the campaign have made it possible to get food and emergency supplies to families in the community, such as clothes, medicines and water-purifying products to make the water drinkable. A number of nets have also been acquired making it possible for people to return to work.

Today, the hospital ship, together with staff from the SUS (Single Health System) that supplies the vaccines and the municipality with support from local churches that have made their premises available, has begun vaccinating these communities, which are usually isolated and not reached by public health authorities, against COVID-19.

Besides the mission to administer vaccines, donations received also support the distribution of food and basic necessities to families in need, equipment to prevent the virus from spreading and medicines, and assistance provided by health workers (who, for example, offer respiratory rehabilitation courses) to support the rehabilitation of those who have had the disease.