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Colombia: emergency aid for 23,000 flood victims

19-01-2011 News Release

Bogotá (ICRC) – Around 23,000 victims of the flooding that has devastated Colombia in recent months have received food, seed and basic necessities from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Colombian Red Cross.

“We distributed relief mainly in areas where we were already providing regular assistance for people affected by the country’s armed conflict,” said the ICRC’s head of delegation, Christophe Beney.

The relief supplies were delivered to 15 remote communities: San Juan and Sipí (Chocó), Naya (Cauca), Bajo Cauca (Antioquia), Tierralta (Córdoba) and Catatumbo (Norte de Santander). The lion's share went to Chocó, where the ICRC, together with volunteers from the Colombian Red Cross, distributed enough food rations for one month to 10,000 people, along with seed (rice and corn) to help restore their economic self-sufficiency.

The ICRC also provided hygiene items, kitchen utensils, hammocks, blankets and mats. In coordination with its antimalarial programme, it distributed mosquito nets where needed and set up water tanks and water-treatment facilities to supply shelters housing flood victims.

This emergency aid is separate from the large-scale humanitarian operation that the Colombian Red Cross, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has been carrying out across the country for many months, benefiting more than 632,000 families.

The recent flooding is the worst Colombia has experienced in 40 years. According to official figures, over 2,200,000 people were affected by the torrential rains that swept the country in 2010.

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera, ICRC, Bogotá, tel.: +571 313 86 30 or 311 491 0775 (in Spanish)
Pascal Jequier, ICRC, Bogotá, tel.: 57 311 491 0789  (in English and in French)
Steven Anderson, ICRC, Geneva, tel.: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50


Photos

Colombian Red Cross depot in Bogotá. Staff prepare emergency packages made possible by private donations. 

Colombian Red Cross depot. Staff prepare emergency packages made possible by private donations.
© ICRC / C. Favero

Red Cross staff load the packages onto trucks for distribution to flood victims. 

Red Cross staff load the packages onto trucks for distribution to flood victims.
© ICRC / C. Favero