The MSF team explains the goals of the comprehensive mental health project for victims of the armed conflict and other situations of violence, and also for survivors of sexual violence in the urban area of Tumaco, Colombia.
COLOMBIA 2016 © Lena Mucha
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This information is excerpted from MSF’s 2016 International Activity Report

In 2016, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to assist victims of urban violence and sexual violence and to respond to emergency situations.

As a result of the peace process, there has been a decrease in incidents between armed groups. However, civilians are still exposed to violence as criminal organizations fight for control of territory. The population is under threat of murder, forced displacement, extortion, sexual violence, and confinement.

In 2016, MSF teams focused on the urban areas of Tumaco and Buenaventura, offering psychological support to 3,953 people impacted by the violent activities of criminal organizations and other armed groups that have emerged in wake of the major conflict. MSF teams also provided comprehensive care for 722 victims of sexual violence. In Buenaventura, where access to care is sometimes restricted, staff provided 1,710 consultations via a “psychological helpline,” a confidential telephone counseling service set up in 2015 for victims of violence—including sexual violence—and people with severe mental health problems. All users of this helpline are offered follow-up consultations.

In the municipality of Tumaco, MSF assisted 461 sexual violence cases, and this year, teams started activities related to voluntary termination of pregnancy for victims of sexual violence.

MSF continues to coordinate an emergency response team to intervene in emergencies, and to monitor the health and humanitarian situation in those areas most impacted by armed conflict. During the year, the team conducted 2,012 primary healthcare consultations and 2,677 mental health consultations, mainly for displaced people in the departments of Antioquia, Chocó, Córdoba, and Norte de Santander.

Update: April 3, 2017

On Sunday, April 2, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sent a multidisciplinary team consisting of a coordinator, a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist, and a logistician to Mocoa, Colombia, to assess the medical needs of people affected by this weekend's landslides.

The teams traveled to different parts of Colombia, where for 15 years MSF has provided primary, mental and sexual and reproductive health care to victims of armed conflict and violence in isolated populations in twenty departments of the country.

MSF will initially be sending medical kits to care for injured victims.

At dawn on Saturday, April 1, heavy rains caused the Mocoa, Mulato, and Sancoyaco rivers to overflow, resulting in landslides in several sectors of Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo, Colombia, in the South of the country. The flooding of these three rivers and streams also led to the destruction of several of the city's neighborhoods, leaving 238 people dead, 203 injured, and 220 missing, with more than 300 families affected.