Tzu Chi responds to floods in Argentine province Tucumán

At 10 p.m. on 10 January, heavy storms suddenly hit Tucumán province in Argentina. In the next six hours, almost 160 mm of rain fell. Salí river overflowed and triggered downstream floods. Massive flooding occurred in the southeastern Tucumán province, including the cities of Tafi Viejo, Lules, San Pedro, Rio Colorado, Las Palmeras, Monteagudo, and Villa Chicligasta. Rio Colorado and Villa Chicligasta were hit hardest.

According to statistics from the government emergency relief centre, of the 25 000 people affected, 1 544 people were displaced and relocated to evacuation centres. Currently, they need relief supplies such as mattresses, blankets, mineral water, shoes, clothes, diapers, detergent and other daily necessities.

The morning of 22 January, Volunteers from Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation in Argentina traveled to disaster areas Tucumán province in 15 hours. Accompanied by special police officer Mr. Suarez Vila and two female police officers, they went to the disaster area in San Roque district of Concepción, about 80 km from the city of Tucumán (San Miguel de Tucumán). The flooding had washed away the belongings of residents who had been living along the river. These were the poorest people in that area. Railway links and bridges were also washed out by the floods.

Tzu Chi Argentina volunteers distributed food rations to 140 families by the recipient list provided by police officers. The relief supplies included corn flour, cooking oil, tomato sauce, rice, noodles, milk powder, sugar, drinking water, bleach, detergent, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, slippers, etc.

Mr. Vila said that it was very difficult for him to express his feelings verbally, because Tzu Chi had provided assistance to flood victims regardless of their religious, race, and nationality. He expressed his gratitude to Tzu Chi volunteers and to the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Others were also inspired to take action in the relief mission. An anonymous benefactor sent six boxes of biscuits for distribution. Another young man brought a box of sandwiches he said he had made himself, and distributed them to hungry children.

The compassionate hearts of young people and the love enveloping humanity is stirring. Tzu Chi volunteers believe that a positive cycle of love can enable victims to quickly emerge from adversity.


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