European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Delivering healthcare to Colombia’s Amazon villages

In August 2018, torrential rains flooded large regions of Colombia’s Amazon rainforest, where isolated indigenous peoples live in remote communities. Over four months, the floods destroyed houses, schools, crops and killed livestock. Local authorities in the Guainía department requested humanitarian assistance.

Most indigenous communities have no access to modern healthcare to treat skin diseases, respiratory infections, parasites or tropical diseases such as malaria - cases of which have exploded in the past few months.

EU humanitarian partners, the German and Colombian Red Cross, deliver primary healthcare, provide hygiene, water and food items to support the most vulnerable, even though the logistics of reaching such isolated settlements in the Amazon jungle are daunting.

Over the course a full week, Colombian Red Cross medical personnel loaded speedboats full of equipment, medicine and kits, and sailed down the Iñirida river for hours to reach the villages of Yuri and Laguna Ninal. They set up temporary clinics, which patients sometimes walked over eight hours to reach. For some, this was their very first medical consultation.

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