Colombia landslide: Action Against Hunger responds

Children have been left extremely vulnerable. They urgently need food, clean water and blankets

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Apr 3 2017

The Colombian Government has declared a state of emergency in the region of Putumayo in Colombia after heavy rain triggered flash flooding and a landslide in the city of Mocoa, killing over 250 people - many of them sleeping in their beds -  including many children. Whole neighbourhoods have disappeared and hundreds more are still missing.  The death toll from the landslide, one of the worst natural disasters to strike the country in years, is expected to rise as many people are injured or and remain unaccounted for. "People in the area are very vulnerable; the region shelters many families who've been displaced over the past few years," said José Luis Barreiro, Country Director for Action Against Hunger in Colombia. 

Action Against Hunger immediately mobilised its 16 people strong emergency response team based in Puerto Asis, two hours from Mocoa, providing urgent relief supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits, water filters and water tanks. “We already had emergency supplies in stock and quickly secured additional stocks to supply emergency shelters in Mocoa with urgent relief items,” said José Luis Barreiro. 

Action Against Hunger’s teams includes experts in logistics, water, sanitation and hygiene, and a psychologist. “Five shelters have been set up already and the municipality has called on the solidarity of neighbouring towns to host families who have lost their homes.”

Hospitals and health centres have been overwhelmed by the emergency and survivors have been left without electricity. Water networks have been destroyed, making access to clean drinking water a key priority. 

Action Against Hunger is coordinating with the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare to launch emergency programmes for children under five years old. In the next few hours we will further refine our response in collaboration with relevant partners and authorities. 

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