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Colombia: Twitterathon to Help Those Affected by the Winter

An activity called “Twitterathon” emerged as an initiative through ideas published by Colombian Twitter users after the serious consequences of the winter wave in Colombia, which are described on the website of the presidency of republic [es]:

Las fuertes lluvias e inundaciones, que desde el segundo semestre de 2010 han afectado a más de un millón doscientas mil personas, han dejado a cientos de miles de familias con cuantiosas pérdidas de sus bienes, hogares, cosechas y demás medios de vida, y han afectado severamente múltiples bienes civiles, tales como escuelas, hospitales y vías de comunicación.

Heavy rain and floods, which since the second half of 2010 have affected more than one million two hundred thousand people, have left hundreds of thousands of families with substantial losses to their belongings, homes, harvests and other areas of life, and have seriously affected numerous public assets such as schools, hospitals and roads.

This was how on the 8th of December several Twitter users from the city of Medellín met up with the goal of collecting donations for the flood victims; and they spent a 7 hour day in Parque de los Pies descalzos [es] (Barefoot Park), one of the most emblematic parks in the city, collecting donations. The way in which the idea came about is described on the Twitterathon Tumblr site [es] in Medellín:

Esta tarde de 5 de diciembre de 2010 a Sarita Palacio, vía Twitter [@Saritapalacio] se le ocurrió promover la iniciativa de la #Twitteraton, la invitación fue humana y sencilla:

«Mucho dolor con la situación en Bello. Es hora de una manifestación twittera, una twiterton … No les parece?»

Pasados algunos minutos las respuestas a través de la misma red social no se hicieron esperar. Twitteros desde Medellín y otros lugares de Colombia se sumaron con sus ideas, apoyo y preguntas. Rápidamente se organizó una reunión en la Casa Museo Otraparte en Envigado.

This afternoon, 5th of December 2010, Sarita Palacio, via Twitter [@Saritapalacio] came up with the idea of promoting the Twitterathon initiative; the invitation [es] was compassionate and simple:

Very painful situation in Bello. It’s time for a twitter demonstration, a twitterathon…don’t you think?

A few minutes later the responses, through the same social network, flooded in. Twitter users from Medellín and other places in Colombia united with their ideas, support and questions. A meeting was quickly organised in Casa Museo Otraparte in Envigado.

Twitterathon team – Medellín by Julián Gutiérrez (@JulianGutierrezG) used with his permission.

On the same site [es] a donation guide is referenced, which has been circulated at a national level through the Red Cross [es], emphasising the need for some items on the aforementioned day:

En este enlace encontramos una guía que aclara cómo podemos ayudar a personas daminificadas en situaciones asociadas al invierno en Colombia. Nosotros hacemos énfasis para este miércoles en la urgencia de elementos de:

- Paquetes de aseo familiar
– Paquetes de cocina
– Paquetes de vajilla
– Colchonetas
– Sábanas
– Cobijias
– Alimentos no perecederos

In this link [es] we can find a guide which clarifies how we can help the people affected by the situations arising from the Colombian winter. We emphasise the urgency for these items this Wednesday:

- Family toiletry packs
– Kitchen packs
– Dishes
– Duvets
– Sheets
– Blankets
– Non-perishable food

The Twitterathon was quickly adopted by Twitter users in Bogotá who carried out the same plan on Saturday December 11th, 2010 [es], in the TEATRO R101 of the Colombian capital. There they did not only gather aid for those affected by the Colombian winter, but they also accepted clothes to donate to the Hogares Claret foundation [es]:

Aparte de este conteo de unidades donadas por la red twittera bogotana, la Twitteraton recolectó una gran cantidad de ropa, suficiente para llenar un furgón, la cual fue almacenada en la Casa Scout bogotana y será destinada esta semana a la Fundación Hogares Claret, que trabaja en pro de la población vulnerable y en rehabilitación de habitantes de la calle.

Apart from this tally of items donated by the Bogota twitter network, the Twitterathon collected a large amount of clothing, enough to fill a van, which was stored in the Bogota Scout House and will this week be destined for the Hogares Claret Foundation, which does work for vulnerable people and the rehabilitation of the homeless.

The cities of Cali (@twiteratoncali) and Barranquilla (@twiteratonqilla) joined forces, where the aforementioned event took place on the 18th and 19th of December respectively, together with the city of Medellín where a second version (18th of December) was carried out and which was promoted by a video [es] via Youtube [es]. Furthermore on the 22nd and 23rd of December a twitterathon [es] was held in the city of Sincelejo.

The figures

- The Medellín Twitterathon produced a total collection of 4800 items (Consolidado público [es]).
– The Bogotá Twitterathon reported on their Facebook page [es] the donation of 10525 items of humanitarian aid throughout the day.
– The Cali Twitterathon announced almost 14 tonnes of aid.

It is worth indicating that the people of Cali launched a website about the activity: Twitterathon Cali [es], where they have published their gratitude to those who participated and collaborated along with photos of the activity. The event was reviewed [es] in the Cali newspaper El Pais. Twitter user Incognito (@lncognito) said:

Todavia no puedo creerlo… Casi 14 toneladas de ayuda recibidas este dia en la #TwitteratonCali

I still can't believe it…Almost 14 tonnes of aid received today at the #TwitteratonCali

Next a video by Julian Mauricio (@profetaloco) about the Cali Twitterathon:

It’s important to point out that during the days of support in aid of those affected by the winter in Colombia, the telethon [es] organisation –that this year had its version in the country on the 18th and 19th of December – decided to open up its arena to invite Colombians to donate, not just to support people in disadvantaged situations (the central point of the aforementioned day), but also to the Colombian Humanitarian initiative, developed by the government as a contingency measure to the devastation caused by the floods

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