December 15, 2019 | Apartadó, Antioquía, Colombia | Daniela Arrieta/IAD News Staff

After heavy rains caused the San José River in the municipal district of Apartadó, in Antioquía, North Colombia, to overflow Seventh-day Adventists moved quickly to provide shelter and gather relief supplies to help dozens of families affected.

“It was a very difficult experience for us,” said Jhon Jairo, one of those affected by the flooding. “Before we knew it, the river overflowed and swept away everything that we had. The community was left with nothing. My ranch came all down.”

Left to Right: María Martinez, Ligia Botero, Yurani Batista, and Robert Ruíz, teachers at the Apartadó Adventist School serve food to those affected by the rising waters of the San Jose River in Apartadó in North Colombia last month. Photo: Samuel Velázquez

Church leaders along with church member volunteers moved quickly to open two Adventist churches to shelter 110 affected families. “We began working with a food center thanks to the donations of relief goods sent in from other Adventist churches,” said Rafael Paez, leader in the Apartadó Adventist Church. “Praise God and thanks to them we were able to offer food to those affected.”

Adventist Development and Relief Agency  (ADRA) Colombia’s director Jair Florez soon met with the mayor’s office and officials of emergency disaster response of the district to support and evaluate the needs of those affected.

“We worked closely with the response officials to assist in the aftermath,” said Florez.  According to the official figures, 2,656 families were affected totaling more than 9,000 people. Florez said there were 29 Adventist families.

Church member volunteers sort out nonperishable food items to donate to dozens of families in communities affected by recent flooding in Apartadó. Photo: Samuel Velázquez

ADRA Colombia and the West Central Colombian Conference distributed mattresses, stoves, nonperishable food, clothes and cleaning kits to dozens of families.

“From the moment that we found out about the situation, the Nueva Sión and the Renacer Adventist Churches opened their doors to provide refuge,” said Pastor Manuel Mogollón, district leader in Apartadó. The church also opened its school as a shelter. “We provided breakfast, lunch and dinners and provided clothes and food for many persons affected during that week.”

Youth ambassadors, pathfinders and master guides joined in assisting with the relief efforts, cleaning affected homes and distributing meals and relief supplies.

“We have trained young people, a membership dedicated to serving others, and I believe that their efforts were key in this process that we have been assisting in,” said Mogollón.

A group of church member volunteers pray before delivering relief supplies in several communities muddied after flooding swept across streets in Apartadó. Photo Samuel Velázquez

Municipal leaders thanked the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for their assistance and quick response in assisting so many.

“I am so thankful for everything that the church has done, for thanks to them and God they have provided food and shelter to children, adults and even our pets,” Jhon Jairo said.

Churches in Apartadó continue to provide assistance to so many still recovering from the flooding that hit them last month

To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Colombia, visit unioncolombiana.org.co

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