Catastrophic Flooding Kills Hundreds
At least 273 people were killed in Mocoa, Colombia, as floodwaters and landslides devastated the city of 40,000 people on March 31. Hundreds more have been injured. By some estimates, more than 14 million cubic yards of mud and rocks swept through the city. Some boulders weighed as much as 12 tons.
“The wall of mud reached up to 6 feet coming through the town,” says AGWM area director David Woodworth. “Half of the State of Putumayo, in southern Colombia along the border with Peru, is without electricity.”
Among the victims, a family of four from a local AG church was missing, and three others from the church were injured. Several families were among those who lost their homes.
“A group of pastors is on site trying to assess the situation and help the churches there,” Woodworth says.
Earlier flooding in Peru resulted in more than 100 deaths.
“I had to fight back a lot of tears today,” missionary Bill Shrader reported from Peru on April 3. “After more than two weeks of praying for, and passing out food to, people who have lost everything in the recent Peruvian floods and mudslides, the reality of the disasters hit home today.
“We finally made it to Catacaos (near Piura), which has experienced historic flooding. Our Betel Casa de Dios school is being used as a refuge for families who have lost everything. Tonight, we handed out food, mosquito nets and repellant, water filters and soap.”
As the communities lined up, Shrader saw the faces of friends, members of the church, and the parents of children in their ChildHope ministry.
“I handed out bags to people I knew, and in whose houses I had eaten lunch, and with whom I had sung worship music. Some of my friends were not accepting the donations; rather, they were serving. My friend Raphael lived in a house made of cane and mud. It was completely washed away. Margarita’s house is brick, so the walls remain, but everything inside is gone. Please continue to pray for Catacaos and greater Piura.”