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Rising from the rubble in Barranquilla

Colombia, November 20, 2010

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When I first visited the neighborhood of El Bosque in Barranquilla, the landslide had affected nearly 350 families, with the partial or complete collapse of a large portion of the community. That was 10 days ago. Since then, Mercy Corps has raised funds from headquarters and matched them with funds from the District Government to provide a rapid response to the urgent needs of the affected vulnerable community.

Our team is on the ground, implementing a community needs assessment of the affected population, identifying leaders and organizing an emergency kit distribution.

The winter rains continue to hit the Caribbean coast of Colombia, with continued floods and landslides in Barranquilla. The landslide of El Bosque has continued to move, now affecting more than 500 households in the neighborhood. The task at hand is daunting — however, the team is in full motion, with full support from the District Government, and the response has started off on a great step.

The news of the disasters in Colombia are making international headlines, and funds are now available to provide a greater response to the needs that are rising. Right now, Mercy Corps is the only organization responding in Barranquilla, and our connections with the local authorities have given us a great position to respond quickly and effectively to the emergency in Barranquilla.