The northern Colombian city of Turbo, near the border with Panama, is home to major threats to regional security and stability. Illegal armed groups, gangs, and other criminal organizations impose their will upon the local population, and the area straddles a major trafficking route between South and North America. With waterways providing easy access to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the region around Turbo sees illicit flows of both people and goods, including drugs, weapons, and other contraband. Now, the mosquito-borne Zika virus is yet another threat contributing to Turbo’s instability.
Since 2015, over 250 cases of Zika have been reported in the area. The illegal groups have used this situation as a way to gain even more influence and control over the local population, citing the public health crisis as an example of the Colombian government’s inability to meet the needs of its people.
When SoA rep Nicholette visited the region with a team of US Navy advisors and their Colombian counterparts, Zika was raised as a major concern. The joint US-Colombian team crafted a strategy to tackle the situation and use the counter-Zika effort as a way to reach locals in a positive way, but critical needs were identified: mosquito fumigation to kill the infected pests, and mosquito nets to prevent further bites.
With your support, the joint team can effectively tackle the Zika threat. Spraying in Turbo will significantly improve the health, welfare, and quality of life of the local population living in the area. In addition, it will demonstrate the Colombian government’s commitment to meeting the basic needs of its population.
I recently returned from my second trip to Turbo, Colombia, an area that, like much of Central and South America, has been plagued by Zika. US troops deployed to this area identified the need for critical prevention measures against this dangerous virus, and Spirit of America immediately responded by funding local mosquito fumigations. You can read … Continued