Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Relief for Flooding

I'm writing this from my desk, watching a heavy rain fall outside, and I can't help but think about the people downstream.  Some are saying that these are the worst floods in recent memory and this rain certainly isn't going to help.

This incredible video from Cochabamba's main newspaper mentions:
     -56 dead
     -11 missing
     -58,000 families affected
     -worst flooding in at least 18 years (according to the man in the canoe)

The footage is from an air force helicopter on relief missions based out of Trinidad, the center of operations.  According to today's paper, Trinidad itself is now under water, as the rivers overflowed the levies this morning.

On Friday, we left the Etnos campus at just before 3pm.  We had an uneventful drive to Puerto Villarroel, located on the Rio Ichilo, arriving around 10pm.

Dinner by the side of the road:

In the morning, we were able to wander around and see some of the damage right there in town.  Although the river was still high, it had returned to its banks.  This area drains very quickly; downstream it will take weeks to recede.  You can see the watermark on this house, which had about 2 feet of water on the floor:

Many people had pulled everything out of their homes, to dry:

A few homes were very wisely built on stilts, like this one:

Our task was mostly just to deliver the supplies and be an encouragement to the pastor and the church, who will continue the process by distributing everything downstream by boat, to affected families. 
Breakfast was masaco (fried banana, mashed) and fried wild pork
 That job done, we took the opportunity to take a boat ride on the river:

On the way, we went by a community of ethnic Yuracar√© which was under water.  It is just across the river, so they were able to get assistance from the port.

Please continue to pray with us for the affected as well as those that are actively helping.  We have one pilot friend here who, although he is unable to land on the flooded airstrips is doing food drops in communities where he has contacts.  Please pray for his safety and that through him, these churches, and our small efforts, people would get the food, clothes, and medicine they need, as well as take the opportunity to hear about the Bread of Life and take spiritual shelter in the Rock of Salvation.

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