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January 26, 1999




The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and former Colombian President, CÚsar Gaviria, deeply deplored yesterday’s tragic earthquake which devastated the southwestern part of his country.

Gaviria, who today is visiting the Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis at the invitation of the Prime Minister, is a native of Pereira, Colombia, and served as mayor of that city at the beginning of his political career. Pereira is one of the departmental capitals hardest hit by the quake.

"In this painful hour in which thousands of Colombian families mourn, I would like to send to all my countrymen, and especially to those from my hometown, my heartfelt wishes of solidarity and support in the wake of this enormous tragedy," said the Secretary General. "I am firmly committed to work tirelessly in the reconstruction efforts. I do not doubt that the brave and tenacious will of my fellow citizens will enable them to overcome this painful experience."

Expressing his personal condolences as well as those of the nations of the Americas, Gaviria offered the immediate assistance of the Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund, in response to a request from the OAS Colombian Ambassador, Luis Alfredo Ramos. The OAS will also serve as a coordination center for donations in the local Washington area.

Secretary General Gaviria will visit the affected zones in the next few days to meet with national and local authorities, and to personally express his solidarity with those affected by the earthquake.


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The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) will be heading a relief effort for victims of the recent earthquake in Colombia. A hotline, (202)-458-3535, has been set up to assist with monetary contributions or inquires.

Cash donations can be made at any Citibank branch in the country: 

Account No: 6671-9569

Account Name: Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)

Bank: Citibank

ABA No: 2540 70 116


Checks can be made payable to PADF Colombia Earthquake 1999, and mailed to: 

Pan American Development Foundation

OAS Building

2600 16th Street, N.W., 4th floor

Washington, D.C. 20009