COLOMBIA VM UPDATE: OVER 35,000 HELPED IN WAKE OF DISASTER
- Floods and mudslides tore through 17 neighborhoods in the Colombian city of Mocoa.
- Highways, bridges and homes were destroyed by the mudslides.
- There are more than 50 VMs on the ground, with more arriving every day.
In the early hours of 1 April, devastating landslides tore through the town of Mocoa, in south Colombia, destroying or damaging seventeen neighborhoods and displacing thousands of people. The landslides were triggered by torrential rain causing three rivers to burst their banks.
The Volunteer Ministers were one of the very few humanitarian organizations invited to go to Mocoa to bring much needed supplies and to help in the disaster area.
The IAS approved an emergency grant to immediately dispatch a team of Volunteer Ministers to provide relief and assistance to those affected. Soon after, a charter plane with 19 Volunteer Ministers and CINAT, the Colombian first aid specialists, arrived in Mocoa.
In addition to the already-trained Volunteer Ministers, local non-Scientologist volunteers came to the Ideal Org of Bogotá volunteering to be trained as VMs and help in the disaster. They were promptly trained on the basic VM tech and transported to Mocoa to join the VMs on the ground.
The VMs have also been training citizens of Mocoa on LRH VM tech. This included a group of 88 teachers from local schools who were trained to deliver nerve and touch assists. A number of the teachers signed up to be part of the VM group in Mocoa.
Meanwhile, volunteers across Latin America are helping in the disaster response. A team of Civil Defense personnel from Puerto Narino, Colombia, who have a partnership with the Columbian VMs, came to the Bogotá Org to volunteer their help. They are already trained to perform assists. From Bogotá, they traveled by bus to Mocoa with a team of 10 VMs.
The VMs at the disaster site have been working closely with police and army personnel on vital relief actions. For example, they delivered 25 tons of water to more than 2,000 of the worst affected families as local water supplies were contaminated in the disaster. The VMs have also been helping to load and unload trucks of food and supplies.
To establish a stable point of assistance, the Volunteer Minister team erected a yellow VM tent in the main plaza of Mocoa. Here they have been delivering assists and also training people to deliver assists to others. Several members of the CINAT team are also working in the tent, providing first aid to those in need. Word of mouth soon spread and people from across the town made their way to the plaza to receive help in the Volunteer Minister tent.
The VMs in the tent have also given assists to police officers, Red Cross personnel and members of the Colombian Army, who have been working long hours to assist the injured and displaced.
The Volunteer Minister disaster response efforts in Colombia are made possible because of the support of IAS members, bringing vital assistance to those in greatest need in times of disaster.