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Colombia requests aid for rain, flood victims

A second wave of heavy rainfall is currently hammering Colombia and with it are appeals to the international community for assistance.

In Seoul, the small Colombian Embassy recently held a charity drive at the Seoul Club to not only raise funds but to announce donations from local companies.

“The Korean government donated $200,000, but I thought it wasn’t enough so my objective at this charity drive is to ask the Korean people to help us,” said Colombian Charge d’Affaires Manuel Solano to The Korea Herald.

According to the latest figures of the Colombian Interior and Justice Ministry, over 300 Colombians have died, almost 300 injured and close to 400 people are missing due to the extreme weather that has caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

“My president and the first lady set up Colombia Humanitaria (a presidential organization) to collect and distribute funds (raised from international donors) efficiently and transparently,” he said.
Colombia Charge d’Affaires Manuel Solano (second from right) gives a thumb up to a 100 million won check donated by Vice Chair of LIG Korea Koo Bon-sang (left). (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Colombia Charge d’Affaires Manuel Solano (second from right) gives a thumb up to a 100 million won check donated by Vice Chair of LIG Korea Koo Bon-sang (left). (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

A message from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos distributed at the charity event read that “strong rains and floods endured during the second semester of 2010 have affected more than 1.2 million people, leaving hundreds of families with substantial losses in goods, homes, crops and other means of life and have affected severely multiple public goods as schools, hospitals and roads.”

What caught Colombia by surprise was the resumption of rain this month after a two-month break.

As more rains continue to pound Colombia until May, the embassy is hoping that assistance will come from Korean people and companies.

“We were here during the Korean War (the only Latin American country to do so), and in 2010 we celebrated 60 years of ties,” said Solano. “So today we request assistance from the Korean people.”

Donations can be made in Korean won to the Korea Exchange Bank, account number 630-007481-661, Embassy of Colombia, while U.S. currency can be donated at a separate account number at the Korea Exchange Bank, 650-008058-288, Embassy of Colombia.

For more information, contact the embassy at embcol@kornet.net or call (02) 720-1369.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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