ACAPS Briefing Note: Colombia - Displacement in Chocó (5 November 2019)

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In October 2019 a re-intensification of armed clashes between the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) and the AGC (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia) for control of territories and resources in the municipality of Bojayá, Chocó department (northwest Colombia) have caused the confinement of 2,250 indigenous and Afro-Colombian people. Their freedom of movement has been severely curtailed as they cannot leave their place of residence. One civilian was allegedly killed in crossfire between the armed groups and 16 local leaders were threatened. As time goes by the humanitarian needs of those confined worsen. They do not have access to their usual sources of livelihood (fishing, agriculture), security hazards limit humanitarian access to the area, and the governmental response so far has not been adequate.

Anticipated scope and scale

Continuous heavy rainfalls might affect timely delivery of aid and temporary shelter arrangements of those displaced. Both confinement and displacement exacerbate the protection, food, and health needs of the population. The department of Chocó had high pre-crisis levels of infant mortality and food insecurity. As armed clashes in the department have occurred throughout 2019 and previous confinement periods this year have lasted for weeks, continuing confinement and further displacement of local communities cannot be excluded.

Humanitarian Constraints

Chocó was listed among the departments with the highest access constraints, with operations being affected by state and also non-state armed groups. As heavy rains have been reported, flooding and other impediments on roads and riverways in the department might be encountered.