Bogota (Agenzia Fides) – During the night of Saturday 1 April a huge mud slide swamped the Colombian town of Mocoa. The Mocoa and SanBoyaco rivers burst their banks sweeping away homes, cars and two bridges. At least 17 districts are affected. The death toll has been set at 254, including 62 minors, and over 400 people are reported injured. Whole districts have disappeared under the mud. According to local sources the town is now isolated and without electric power or water. The local meteorological office said the past month of March registered the highest amount of rainfall since 2011.
In the face of the tragedy, the Bishops of Colombia have encouraged the people to pray for those killed in the disaster and to ask God to give strength to all those affected. In a message, sent also to Fides, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, urges church communities, individuals, and all people and institutions of goodwill, to take opportune initiatives to promote the work of rebuilding. Pope Francis, during his Sunday Angelus prayer and address on 2 April, made a heartfelt appeal: “I am deeply saddened by the news of the tragedy which has struck Colombia. I pray for the victims and assure my closeness to those who mourn their dear ones, and I thank all those involved in rescue work”. Mocoa is in the region of Putumayo, on the border between Ecuador and Peru, where, since the beginning of this year at least 90 people lost their lives due to torrential rain. (see Fides 16/3/2017).
(AP) (Agenzia Fides 3/4/2017)