After 25 days of the avalanche that suffered Mocoa, where 326 people died (0.86% of the population), of which 120 were children, 79 are still missing and 16,919 are affected (45% of the population). There is still a long way to go before Mocoa returns to normal.
(Source: National Risk Management Unit for Disasters - Colombia, April 21, Day 21 and Putumayo Government)
Mercy Corps has been attending this emergency with its local team, local partners, national team, head quarters in the United States and Europe from day 1, to respond to the most important needs of the affected population.
Mercy Corps participation in WASH (Water and Sanitation), Emergency Education and Protection, and SAN clusters, as well as in the coordination cluster of the different NGOs and the Foreign Ministry has been fundamental. All humanitarian aid actions have been filtered, evaluated and coordinated with government entities in order to achieve coordinated action, but it has taken longer than normal to address the immediate needs of the population. Thanks to the close relationship with the different local officials, Mercy Corps has been able to be more effective and timely, since there is already a confidence built by the different programs that we have developed in Putumayo.
After evaluating needs, gaps and priorities, Mercy Corps with the support of different donors: Pepsico - Vitol - Western Union focused on Psychosocial Support and START - P&G in Humanitarian Aid, we have developed the following activities:
Water and Sanitation
P&G donated 19,200 water purifying envelopes that will provide 192,000 litres of drinking water, these will be delivered this week. P&G plans to send us purifiers to serve 500 families over the next 3 months.
Education and Protection
We participated in the Emergency Education cluster in conjunction with UNICEF, Save The Children, World Vision, CIS, CID and Opcion Legal and government institutions (Departmental Secretary of Education and Ministry of National Education) where a psychosocial care plan was technically defined for the educational community (children, teachers, parents, and officials). 12 Schools were prioritized. We carried out accompaniment to 68 children from the IE Fray Palacio shelter with ludic pedagogical activities with the aim of making the school a protective space. 20 teachers received psycho-emotional attention by strengthening their emotions and skills to return to class and empower their students. On the day back to school, 238 students participated in an activity to understand their emotions, their environment and the new circumstances, this school has 627 students, which indicates that there is still a lot of fear to return, especially every time it rains.
The cases of children and adolescents with psychosocial affections due to the natural disaster were identified and sent to the Secretary of Departmental Health.
The Departmental Education Secretary specially asked Mercy Corps to perform an activity of emotional support for their officials and after seeing the affectations and needs, they requested continuity.
New articulations of actions and resources have been made with: Plan International, Pastoral Social and local NGO Alianza de Mujeres Tejedoras de Vida de Putumayo.
To continue with our intervention we have been pulling together a professional team to work exclusively in the stabilization and restoration phases in M&E and Psychosocial Support areas.