What drives us?
The present. The future. Together.
Many people’s lives changed in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo on November 5, 2015. Zezim heard the commotion and left his house with his wife, Dona Maria, with just the clothes on their bodies, minutes after the mudslide flooded the lower district of Bento Rodrigues, in Mariana. Nearby, in the course of the Gualaxo do Norte river, Marcinho heard about the news from his cousin and moved his cattle to higher ground. He stayed there until late at night when he heard about the destruction of the Paracatu village, near to where he lived. in the early hours, trader Rômulo heard something that sounded like “a bear in a cave” and saw waves of mud descend on Barra Longa down the Carmo river. Days later, in the Ipatinga region of the Doce river valley, farmer Edilene panicked when she saw there was no water to irrigate her crops. This feeling was also experienced by Simião, a fisherman from Povoação, near Linhares, in Espírito Santo state, when he realized it would be a long time before he could make a living from fishing in the river again.
Thousands of people have been affected by this tragedy. We at the Renova Foundation speak to these families and communities on a daily basis. We try to imagine the magnitude of their suffering. There is a common wish amongst all those affected – to get back as much as possible of their way of living and working before the collapse. We understand this is also an opportunity to make the region an example of recovery and a sustainable way of living. Creating this legacy is our dream. This is what drives us.
Tree struck by mud in the District of Paracatu, in Mariana (Renova Foundation Archive)
Needless to say it is a complex task, with many supporting initiatives. Our focus was shifting from emergency activities, such as providing provisional housing to those left homeless, to delivering permanent solutions, including resettlement, health care, education and culture. We are also working to recover the rivers and rural areas, resuming the activities for sustaining people’s livelihoods, combining each individual’s work with environmental conservation.
We are dealing with unique and complex impacts. We are aware that we are sailing through uncharted waters, for we are dealing with issues that challenge science itself. We know we do not have ready-made answers to many of the challenges we have to resolve. These solutions have to be created in liaison with the people involved as well as with the help of experts, whom we have already engaged. The engagement and participation of all are the tools to help us build a better future for the whole affected region. We therefore invite everyone who identifies with the massive opportunity ahead and get on board to this journey with us.
Welcome to the first activity report published by Renova Foundation.