Colombian sisters reunited after 30 years

2016-02-27 10:07
Jacqueline Vasquez Sanchez embraces her sister Lorena Sanchez before a media conference held in Bogota. (Fernando Vergara, AP)

Jacqueline Vasquez Sanchez embraces her sister Lorena Sanchez before a media conference held in Bogota. (Fernando Vergara, AP)

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Bogota - Two Colombian stepsisters have been reunited 30 years after they were separated when a deadly avalanche destroyed their home, after one of them spotted her sibling on Facebook.

Jaquelin Sanchez, 39 and Lorena Santos, 33, were given up for adoption to different families after the tragedy in the town of Armero.

They were young girls when a nearby volcano erupted, triggering a mudslide that killed 25 000 people in November 1985.

They never saw their mother again - nor each other, until Jaquelin spotted Lorena a few months ago in a video posted on Facebook identifying herself as a victim of the disaster.

"I watched the video every day and each time I did I said, 'That is my sister, that is my sister," Jaquelin told a news conference.

The two staged an emotional public reunion after genetic tests proved they were daughters of the same mother.

They are the first of the so-called "lost children" known to have been reunited after surviving the disaster, according to the Armando Armero Foundation which works with victims.

Lorena was only two when the disaster struck but said she had always known she was adopted. She underwent genetic tests three years ago after visiting Armero.

She had aimed to find her mother with the foundation's help and was surprised instead to end up finding her sister.

"I am still trying to let it sink in. It is not easy when after 30 years they tell you that you have a sister," Lorena said.

Many mothers caught up in the disaster got out of hospital after recovering to find their children had been given up for adoption. Some are still searching for them.

Read more on:    colombia

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