On the night of 31 March 2017, increased rainfall caused the Mocoa, Sangoyaco and Mulata Rivers to overflow, which in turn generated a mudslide in the municipality of Mocoa, capital of the department of Putumayo. UNGRD* reported that the affected area received 33 per cent of its monthly total of rainfall (130 mm of the 400-mm monthly average) on the night of the disaster.
At present there is over 300 people injured and over 300 recorded dead, with only 166 having been identified. In addition there is still over 200 people missing following the mudslide, according to local authorities.
Almost 3,000 left homeless by the landslide are being housed at five temporary shelters and are being provided with food, water and essential medicine.
“Going forward we will focus our support on mental health,” Gabriel Umana Suarez from Red Cross Colombia says, referring to survivors of the tragedy. “In the next few months Red Cross teams will be accompanied by experts to help survivors process what's happened and help them through the grieving process.”
The Colombian Red Cross Society has 152 volunteers and staff in the affected zones, who are carrying out first response phase actions with support from branches in Cundinamarca, Boyacá, Tolima, Nariño and Putumayo. Another 32 CRC branches are ready to support the subsequent phases of the operation.
In terms of health, an emergency medical team with the capacity for pre-hospital and emergency care has been deployed, as well as a psychosocial support team to provide mental health care, PSS and psychological first aid to the population in the collective centres and to Town Hall, governorate and hospital staffs. One tonne of hospital supplies and medicine has been sent to support the hospital system in the area.
For us at CORRECOL S.A., this is a local cause close to our hearts and we encourage our fellow members to help support in any way you can.
Help the Colombian Red Cross save and care for the people affected by this terrible disaster.
* Unidad Nacional para la Gestión del Riesgo