Six months of downpours in Colombia caused by the La Niña weather phenomenon have resulted in what the government calls the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. The Canal del Dique—a major canal that connects Cartagena Bay with the Magdalena River, the country’s most important commercial waterway—ruptured in December, flooding the lowlands with water from the powerful Magdalena and destroying infrastructure, submerging buildings, and killing people, animals and crops.
Nearly 300 people died, according to estimates, and approximately 2.2 million were forced from their homes. Floods still stand at around 7 feet in some areas, and tens of thousands of homes are still underwater. At least 40 Foursquare churches have also been affected, some of which are submerged, and most of which are uninhabitable. Many pastors and congregations have been displaced.
“Please pray for the Colombian Church,” requests Paul Otremba, Foursquare’s area missionary to Central America, “for wisdom, how to handle this situation; for the pastors that are affected, that they are not discouraged; that they see this as an opportunity to minister to a lot of people and bring them the gospel of joy and peace, and give them a future and a hope in the midst of all this suffering.”
Foursquare’s Relief and Compassion ministry is looking to raise $1.2 million to provide food, shelter, water purification units and more. Medical teams, and building and construction teams, are also desperately needed.