RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last week we were so focused on getting the first Print edition out that we neglected to provide more coverage about the tragedy in Região Serrana, the mountainous region of the State of Rio de Janeiro. At this point over 810 have died and another 469 are missing in the worst natural disaster in Brazil’s history.

Stone Korshak, Editor and Publisher of The Rio Times.

To help put the devastation in perspective, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused at least 1,836 lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent flood. Perhaps the most shocking thing about this tragedy was how poorly the worlds leading superpower dealt with the recovery and aid of it’s citizens. Brazil seems to be doing better at it.

Yet for further perspective, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, caused a total of 227,898 deaths. The 2010 Haiti earthquake has estimates as high as 316,000 deaths, making it the fifth most deadly natural disaster in recorded history.

This perspective does not make the Região Serrana suffering any less real or important, it just information. It certainly does not effect how we personally react to such traumatic events, and how we should provide assistance however possible to help the situation.

It is human nature to want to help protect those closest to us. Starting with our own survival instinct and moving out in concentric circles of loved ones, family, friends, neighbors, and community. Região Serrana is very much part of our community, just a 100km distance, and lots of people in the city of Rio have close ties there.

Disaster Relief Benefit Concert Flier.
Disaster Relief Benefit Concert, flyer provided by organizers (click to enlarge).

In our coverage of the devastation we have offered information on how to help, and this week we’re especially glad to see the an event planned for Saturday by some of the most established foreign community organizations in Rio. Putting an event like this together is no small feat and we’ll certainly do everything we can to support it.

The benefit concert will be held on Saturday, January 29th, starting at 7PM in the Jubilee Hall (Rua Real Grandeza, 99) in Botafogo, and is a joint effort of The American Society of Rio (AmSoc Rio), the British and Commonwealth Society (BCS), and Christ Church Rio de Janeiro.

Admission to the concert is R$50 (regular), and R$25 for students and seniors, and all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross. These, however, are the minimum prices set, and everyone is encouraged to donate as generously as possible to aid the victims and help the recovery efforts.

The schedule for the event is as follows:
7PM onwards – Looping slide-show, periodic announcements by Emcee
7:15PM – David Chew Duo (Cellist and classical guitarist Nicolas Souza Barros)
7:40PM – Scott Feiner & Pandeiro Jazz
8:05PM – Talk by community members from Teresópolis
8:25PM – BeeLiv (Al Pratt and his daughters)
8:50PM – Arizona
9:15PM – Talk by community members from Nova Friburgo
9:35PM – River Country Trio (featuring Steve Yolen, Peter Warner, and Tony Lupidi)
10:00PM – Grand Finale (candlelight “Amazing Grace”, led by Nova Friburgo resident Steve Yolen)

Saturday, January 29th from 7:00PM to 10:00PM
Christ Church, Jubilee Hall
Rua Real Grandeza, 99 in Botafogo
Contact: contact@americansocietyrio.org



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