Tooele man among thousands stranded in Brazil due to ruinous floods

May 8, 2024, 7:02 PM | Updated: May 10, 2024, 11:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY Thousands in southeastern Brazil are stranded and displaced after catastrophic floods submerged entire cities.

The stranded include a Tooele man, 24-year-old Collin McEachern, who flew to Porto Alegre for a two-week vacation with local friends that quickly went south.

“The plan was to do a quick trip down here,” said McEachern who flew to Porto Alegre in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul on April 26. Almost immediately, he said the skies turned gray.

The Church of Jesus Christ sends humanitarian aid to Brazil following major flooding

“It was very intense rain that didn’t stop,” McEachern said. “They have never received this much rain ever.”

By May 1, McEachern said evacuations were underway in Canoas, a city with a population of 350,000 just north of Porto Alegre, which boasts a population of 1.3 million people.

“Half of the city that I’m in is currently underwater,” McEachern said. “Mathias (Velho) which had hundreds of thousands of people living there is completely under water.”

McEachern is sharing his two-bedroom Airbnb with 11 others. It is located on higher ground. They have electricity but no running or drinking water.

Tooele resident Collin McEachern is among thousands of people stranded in Brazil from floodwaters. (KSL TV)

“Chlorine and pool water is what we’re using here for personal hygiene, we’ve got some buckets and go down to the pool and bring them back up,” McEachern said.

And McEachern said he’s one of the lucky ones. The BBC reports at least 95 people are dead, dozens missing, and 155,000 are displaced.

The Airport in Porto Alegre is also closed for commercial travel as it remains flooded. McEachern said travel out of the area he’s in is challenging as the airport is closed and several roads remain flooded or are backed up for hours with those fleeing disaster zones.

“The most populous part of the city just has been swept away and so I mean you can’t even compare what I’m feeling with those who have just lost everything are feeling,” McEachern said.

McEachern spends his days buying and collecting essentials and taking them from shelter to shelter.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also assisting with humanitarian efforts 21 meetinghouses run by volunteers are serving as makeshift shelters and they donated thousands of basic food packages to Brazil’s civil defense. The Church is also planning to send a plane from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre with supplies Thursday.

“It’s just everybody giving what they can,” McEachern said.

Collin is collecting donations* through his Venmo, @Collin-Mceachern, to purchase supplies in Porto Alegre.

You can find more information by clicking here.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Tooele man among thousands stranded in Brazil due to ruinous floods