Colombia: Red Cross teams continue efforts after mudslide kills hundreds
A mudslide in Putumayo, Colombia has killed more than 250 people and left hundreds injured or missing. A hospital has been damaged, limiting access to health care for those affected. In response, Colombian Red Cross teams have been working around the clock to help families—including search-and-rescue in the disaster’s immediate aftermath.
The mudslide struck the city of Mocoa on March 31, while many residents were asleep. Unusually heavy rainfall—which has affected Colombia since the beginning of the year—contributed to the swelling of the Mocoa, Mulato and Sangucayo rivers. More rain is forecast through April 4, raising the risk of additional mudslides.
Roads have been washed away and two bridges have collapsed, leading to challenges for responders in reaching the affected area. Approximately 85 percent of the Putumayo department is without electricity and many homes have been damaged or destroyed.
More than 100 Colombian Red Cross staff and volunteers have deployed to the disaster zone and are working closely with government officials to respond. In addition to search-and-rescue, Red Cross teams are providing first aid, moving potable water treatment equipment to provide clean drinking water, helping people reconnect with family members who have been separated by the disaster, and have set up shelters for those in need.
Media interviews available. Contact:
Colombian Red Cross: +57 310 238 9021, +57 310 2652154, +57 300 3554676
Diana Medina, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, +507 6780 5395
Jenelle Eli, American Red Cross, 24/7 media line: +1 202-303-5551
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.