ACT Rapid Response Payment No. 13/2008: Earthquake in the Central region of Colombia

News and Press Release
Originally published


Funds Sent To: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO)

Amount Sent: 26,382 US$

Date: 4 June 2008

Details of Response

Emergency: Earthquake in the Central region of Colombia

Date of Emergency: 24 May 2008

Implementing Member: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO)

Details of the Emergency:

On May 24, 2008, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit the central-eastern region of Colombia. The epicenter was located in the municipality of El Calvario, department of Meta (55 km south-east of Bogota). As the quake occurred at a shallow depth of 3.5 km, its effects and aftershocks were particularly strongly felt. Besides El Calvario, the most affected municipalities are Quetame, Puente Quetame and Guayabetal in the department of Cundinamarca.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the earthquake affected 9,000 people, with 65 people injured and 14 deaths. 40 buildings collapsed close to the epicenter.

740 houses are damaged, amongst which 194 will need complete rebuilding, while 376 will have to be partially reconstructed. Some remote communities could not yet be assessed given the difficulty of access.

The Colombian Red Cross is responding by providing health care, food, shelter and medicines. The Army and the police are ensuring security, in particular near the damaged houses to prevent looting. They are also facilitating the access to shelters and the transport to the people in need of the food delivered by the various institutions assisting with this emergency.

Despite all the support given, all the needs are not covered yet, especially in the rural areas where the assistance has not yet reached all the communities. Moreover, it is probably going to take several months until houses get rehabilitated and people can move in again.