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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 3, 2017) — A state of emergency was declared after deadly mudslides ravaged the Putumayo Province of southwestern Colombia, an area roughly 45,000 residents.
More than 250 people were killed in the mudslides, including 48 of them children. Hundreds of others have been reported missing or injured, and more than 70 unaccompanied children have been identified.
Authorities in the area report widespread damage of infrastructure including the urban power grid, aqueduct and sewers, leaving the city without electricity or supply of stable drinking water. In addition, parts of Mocoa are unreachable due to blocked roads caused by seven bridges and roads, along with the telecommunications network, destroyed in the avalanche.
Save the Children has been coordinating with the government and partners on the ground to help the children and families affected by this disaster, and in the coming days and weeks will deploy staff to the area. The organization has sent 20 hygiene kits—which include essential items like soap, toothbrushes, laundry detergent and more—as well as set up two Child-Friendly Spaces, which provide a safe place for children to play and escape the trauma of the emergency, while giving parents the much-needed opportunity to assess the damage.
"Our thoughts are with the children and families of Colombia during this difficult time, and we are working swiftly to get people the emergency supplies they need," said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s President and CEO. "Children are often the most severely impacted in emergencies, and we know that already 70 children have been separated from their families in the wake of these mudslides. We are working closely with the government and local partners to help them as quickly as possible."
Individuals can support Save the Children’s work by donating to the Children's Emergency Fund, at SavetheChildren.org.
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.