The government of Colombia will compensate and provide psychological support for those closest to the bus accident that killed at least 30 children in northern Colombia last Sunday.
President Juan Manuel Santos flew to the municipality of Fundacion in the northern state of Magdalena on Monday. In his speech to the families of the victims, he stated that funeral costs and survivors’ healthcare costs were to be covered by the Government, in a show of “solidarity”.
|“Even though no amount of money can account for the loss of one’s child, the Government will offer 12 million pesos [about $6000] to each family to alleviate the situation.”-Health Minister|
Each family is also to receive compensation of approximately $6000 and ‘psychological support’ from 8 mental health professionals financed by the Department of Health, reported RCN Radio.
“Even though no amount of money can account for the loss of one’s child, the Government will offer 12 million pesos [about $6000] to each family to alleviate the situation,” said Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria in the same report by RCN.
Mourning period announced
The exact number confirmed to have lost their lives in the incident in Fundacion, Magdalena has now risen to 33, according to statement from the Interior Ministry.
The Government is to ‘hoist the national flag at half-mast’ to signify the nation’s remembrance.
Causes remain unknown
What caused the bus to ignite is still unknown and is being investigated.
“The relevant institutions are committed to clarifying the facts and making the appropriate inquiries to establish the causes of this unfortunate event,” said a statement from the Interior Ministry.
According to RCN, the driver, 56 year-old Jaime Gutierrez, was allegedly driving the bus without a license. He is currently being detained by the authorities and looks likely to face trial relating to the incident.
Several of the victims’ family members reportedly asked the President during his visit why the use of unlicensed vehicles had been permitted, according to Bogota‘s Santa Fe Radio.
The President requested the Minister of Defense and Palomino’s Chief of Police to ensure that ‘National Government interfere more directly as it is the responsibility of the municipalities to control the use of vehicles that should not be being used on the road.’
- Declaración del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos luego de visitar a los familiares de los 31 niños fallecidos en el accidente de Fundación (Presidencia de la República)
- Tres días de duelo nacional decreta el Gobierno (Ministerio del Interior)
- Gobierno decreta 3 días de duelo en Colombia por tragedia de niños en Fundación (Radio Santa Fe)
- Gobierno decreta 3 días de duelo por tragedia en Fundación, Magdalena (RCN Radio)