Colombia: Floods Appeal No. 24/2004 Final Report


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In Brief

Appeal No. 24/04; Final Report; Period covered: 5 November 2004 to 31 August 2005; Final appeal coverage: 66%. Click here to go directly to the attached Contributions List; Final Financial Report to be attached shortly.

Appeal history:

- Launched on 5 November, 2004 for CHF 953,000 (USD 796,312 or EUR 621,646) for 6 months to assist 4,000 families.

- Plan of action and budget revised and increased to CHF 1,698,000 and the number of beneficiaries increased to 40,000 (8,000 families) on 9 December 2004.

- Plan of action and budget revised and increased to CHF 1,996,000 (USD 1,722,562 EUR 1,298,458) and operational framework extended to 8 months to assist 9,500 families.

- Plan of action and operational framework extended until 31 August 2005 due to further actions to assist the 9,500 families.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 100,000.

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: South America Annual Appeal (01.54/2004); South America Annual Appeal 05AA044; Pan American Disaster Response Unit Annual Appeal (01.51/2004); Pan American Disaster Response Unit Annual Appeal 05AA040

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

Background and Summary

In Colombia, the rainy season generally runs between March and June and between October and November depending on the region. In 2004, rains continued incessantly from October through the end of the year, affecting 90,000 families in 24 departments (244 municipalities). A total of 831 houses were completely destroyed and another 24,210 houses were damaged. Thousands of families from the Caribbean coast in the north of the country were forced to flee their homes. The main Colombian rivers increased their levels, causing floods in both agricultural and urban areas. The road system was also severely affected due to mudslides that blocked the path of vehicles. On top of that, in 2005 heavy rains in February affected 592,234 people (117,597 families) in 24 departments. During the period of November 2004 to February 2005 a public emergency was declared by the national government in the departments of Atlantico, Bolivar, Cesar, Cordoba, Guajira, Magdalena, Santander, Sucre, and in municipalities of Bucaramanga and Giron. Heavy rains continued during April and May, causing increased flooding in the areas that had been previously affected.

The profile of the affected people was varied and complex: people displaced by violence in the country who had left their place of origin and lost all their belongings due to the heavy rains and subsistence farmers whose livelihood depended upon the cultivation of small parcels of land were among the main affected groups identified. Many of the people affected live in high risk areas that are vulnerable to landslides, which often accompany floods, but were reluctant to move because of fears of robbery.

Operations in response to this emergency were carried out in the most affected departments, which were prioritized after a census which showed the areas most in need. The Colombian Red Cross Society responded to the needs of the affected families though the international appeal made through the Federation, through Partner National Societies (PNSs) present in the country, and through a national appeal made to Colombian citizens. Work has been done in close coordination with the different organizations in the country, among them National Disaster Department, whose membership includes the Colombian Red Cross Society as the only non-governmental

organization, and OXFAM. The Colombian Red Cross Society also worked closely with the French, Netherlands and Spanish Red Cross Societies. The American Red Cross provided support through a USAID project. The Federation's international appeal received funds from the Canadian, Hong Kong, Japanese, Monaco, Netherlands and Swedish governments, as well as from the Chinese and Netherlands Red Cross Societies. The original appeal launched by the Federation in November was revised several times to reflect the increased needs.

In total, 15 of 32 departments in the country were provided with food and non-food relief, health service and water and sanitation by the Colombian Red Cross Society: Antioquia, Atlántico, Bolívar, Caldas, Cauca, Cesar, Córdoba, Cundinamarca, Guajira, Huila, Magdalena, Norte de Santander, Santander, Sucre, Choco and Tolima. Nine of the departments showing the highest number of affected were included in the Federation appeal.

The emergency phase of the operation was followed by a rehabilitation phase. In order for many of those affected to return to their homes, reconstruction and rehabilitation of housing was carried out through this operation. The rehabilitation phase of the emergency operation also focused on building water and sanitation infrastructure with cooperation from OXFAM. In addition, disaster preparedness tools were introduced in vulnerable communities and primary health care was provided.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Colombia: Walter Cotte, National Director of Operations and Relief, Colombian Red Cross Society, Bogotá; email, phone (571) 437-6300, fax (571) 473-6301, phone, fax

In Colombia: Geert Haghebaert, Colombia Federation Representative; email or, phone (571) 428-5138, fax (571) 660-7010

In Panama: Nelson Castaño, Head of Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama City; email, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email, phone 41-22-730-4535, fax: 41-22-733-0395

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

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