TİKA Extended Helping Hand Flood-affected Colombian People

Due to heavy rains during the last week of February, 10 municipalities of the Department of Chocó were affected by the floods caused by the overflow of the San Juan, Quito, Cértegui, Condoto, Iro, San Pablo, Atrato and Quebrada La Yesca rivers.  According to the official reports, about 36,555 people were affected, estimated of 7,311 families. Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), offered a helping hand to the Chocoano people through the donation of school kits and agricultural tools.

The school kits were delivered to 140 children of the Andrés Bello Educational Institution in Municipality of Istmina. The school kits include a backpack, notebooks, pens, colors among other elements. This help was intended to increase student motivation and minimize the effects of the flood. The profit for TİKA was the smile and happiness of the children when receiving the donation.

The agricultural tools were distributed among the small towns of Primavera and Tutunendo. Shovels, hammers, machetes, gloves, saws, boots, among other equipment distributed for the purpose of supporting and encouraging farmers to continue with their productive activities. Juan De La Rosa, member of the community and teacher of the Agroecological Institution of Primavera expressed words of gratitude to the Turkish people: "I am a member of the community and teacher of the Agroecological Institution of Primavera, we express as a community and teacher immense gratitude to the government Turkish to look at us and try to help us in the needs."

It should be noted that flooding is not the only problem currently facing the Department of Chocó, due to its geographical position, Chocó is exposed to a high network of drug trafficking from Colombia to other countries, the network leaves the country across the border with Panama. Likewise, it has been affected by confrontations of groups outside the law, one of the strongest clashes was in 2002, the Bojayá Massacre, where FARC guerrillas and AUC paramilitaries fought to maintain control of the area and access to the Atrato River.

Today, members of the Colombian Self-Defense Groups (AUG) and members of the ELN are fighting over the area. However, the Chocoano people maintain hope that armed conflicts will be eradicated and request more support and control from the National Government not only in that subject but also any type of assistance.

One of the deputies of the Department, Mr. James Morales Ibargüen, also extended the call to the Turkish government: "First to thank God and the Turkish government for this important help that has brought today to the 'corregimiento' (community)of Primavera, significant for each one of the habitats. And also to ask the Turkish government today to continue placing it in their hands here today in this community that needs it so much."

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