My Christmas in Colombia – A ShelterBox Response Team Member Recalls

Response team volunteer Laura Jepson, who spent Christmas 2010 in Colombia

Response team volunteer Laura Jepson, who spent Christmas 2010 in Colombia


Throughout the winter of 2010, Colombia experienced torrential rain, which left 28 of the country’s 32 departments suffering from severe flooding. ShelterBox committed aid to the country and throughout the holiday season response team volunteers worked tirelessly to assist families who had lost everything at Christmas time. 
‘During the short journey from the airport, the size and scale of the flooding was obvious. Entire towns and roads had been submerged under metres of water. In some cases all you could see were roofs scattered throughout the huge expanses of water’ said response team volunteer Laura Jepson.
‘We visited one of these communities on Christmas Eve, Barranca Vieja, with the Mayor and her team. More than 500 families had to escape to high ground when a dyke broke in the middle of the night. The families only had a matter of hours to gather their belongings before their homes were submerged in two metres of water.’
‘We took a canoe through the town to reach the area where the families were now living. At times like this I have to distance myself from the reality of the situation and think about the job in hand, but as we passed people’s windows I could see the belongings they’d left behind; clothes left on the washing line, children’s drawings still on the walls.
‘That’s when I started to think about the people, about the families that have lost everything. I couldn’t help but think about my own family and how they would be celebrating Christmas – opening presents, decorating the tree and enjoying Mum’s roast.’

In this short video ShelterBox response team volunteer Laura Jepson tells her story of the year she spent Christmas in Colombia.
Thanks to the support of our donors, ShelterBox sent aid to help more than 1,600 families in Colombia find shelter from the rain during the holiday season. Thank you.

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