Scientology Volunteer Ministers Help in the Wake of Colombia Disaster
Providing relief to those left stranded by the floods in Mocoa, Colombia
The Church of Scientology of Bogotá is providing relief in the wake of the worst natural disaster to hit Colombia in decades. Torrential rains and flooding triggered mudslides and submerged entire sections of the sprawling city of Mocoa, killing more than 300 and displacing thousands.
Church executives issued a call to arms and a team of Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) immediately mobilized and deployed for the disaster site in the Church’s bright yellow van.
Responding to government requests for help to organize and transport supplies and goods to the disaster site, the Church arranged 30 more Volunteer Ministers to work at the warehouse, where the relief supplies were collected and organized, and 10 VMs to transport these items to Mocoa by airplane. They traveled with their partners, CINAT, Colombia's National Circle of Aid Technicians, in a flight arranged by the government.
The Church arranged a twice-weekly bus to continue to bring Volunteer Ministers and humanitarian supplies to the area.
On the ground, VMs helped the Civil Defense team from the state of Caquetá set up two large relief tents where pregnant women could receive the care they needed.
In the center of Mocoa they erected their bright yellow Volunteer Ministers tent where they are delivering assists—techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that address the emotional and spiritual factors in trauma and stress. Finding local residents eager to help, they set up a course room so anyone may learn these unique techniques and use them to reach out to many more.
Members of the Civil Defense of the state of Nariño, who partner with the Volunteer Ministers Amazon Goodwill Tour and are trained to deliver assists, traveled from Leticia to Bogotá where they joined a team of VMs traveling to Mocoa on a Church-chartered bus. The mayor of Puerto Nariño helped make it possible for them to do this by offering to support their families while the team is away.
Colonel Ricardo Antonio Prado of the Metropolitan Police of Neiva took over directing the Volunteer Ministers team on the ground. The VMs took on running a dining room set up by the police to feed local residents. They are also working with the Red Cross and other volunteer groups and helping at a shelter housing 185 families who lost their homes.
The Volunteer Ministers disaster response, made possible by a grant from the International Association of Scientologists, will continue to provide help until the emergency is over.
A global network of Volunteer Ministers mobilizes in times of man-made and natural disasters, answering the call wherever needed. Collaborating with some 1,000 organizations and agencies, they have utilized their skill and experience in providing physical support and spiritual aid at hundreds of disaster sites.
The motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister is “Something can be done about it.” The program, created in the mid 1970s by L. Ron Hubbard and sponsored by the Church of Scientology International as a religious social service, constitutes one of the world’s largest international independent relief forces.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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