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Flood emergency declared in Colombia

© UNICEF Colombia/2004
11 November: Families wade through waist-high water to reach shelter.

CARTAGENA, Colombia, 17 November 2004 – The government of Colombia declared a state of emergency in eight states, as torrential downpours have caused dangerous floodwaters and landslides affecting 49,660 families and 251, 717 people, according to the Colombian Red Cross.

This year’s rainy season has turned out to be one of the worst in many years. Nineteen Colombians have died since the flooding began, and dozens of people have sustained injuries, some severe.

The situation is critical in the districts (departments) of Atlántico, Bolivar (particularly in the cities of Cartagena, Achí and San Jacinto del Cauca), Guajira, Cesar, Córdoba, Magdalena, Sucre and Santander. In the area of la Mojana, department of Bolivar, a dike on the Cauca River broke, flooding extensive areas of farmed land and destroying several houses along the riverbanks.


© UNICEF Colombia/2004
10 November: Children make their way through flooded streets in Santiago de Cali

In Cartagena, schools and churches have been converted into temporary shelters, particularly for those living in poor neighbourhoods.  The government is assisting victims whose homes or businesses have been damaged.

UNICEF is monitoring the situation and its impact on children and women.  In Montería, UNICEF continues to provide humanitarian assistance to 4,700 persons in temporary shelters, and 196 have been taken in by family members or relocated in temporary homes.

The Government of Colombia has not so far made an appeal for international assistance, but the United Nations Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator is remaining in close contact with the authorities of Colombia’s National Disaster Response and Prevention Office.

Colombia’s Institute of Meteorology, IDEAM, says the heavy rains will continue and that the emergency caused by the rainy season will extend to Andean zone departments like Cundinamarca, Tolima and Huila.




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