Colombia: Floods - DREF Plan of Action (EPoA), Operation n° MDRCO021


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

The La Mojana subregion in Colombia encompasses 11 municipalities across four departments: Antioquia, Bolívar,
Córdoba and Sucre. It is a productive wetland area part of the Momposina Depression basin that regulates the course of the Magdalena, Cauca and San Jorge rivers and acts as a buffer against flooding. It facilitates the settling and accumulation of their sediment. Its water dynamics and plant and animal biodiversity provide food security and generate income for the population.

However, climate change, illegal mining, and the expansion of agriculture- and livestock-based economies have weakened the plant crust and reduced its ability to capture water, which in turn has triggered impacts throughout the system of canals and swamps that prevent it from fulfilling its function.

Since April 2022, 11 municipalities in the La Mojana subregion have suffered damages because of breaches in the jarillón along the Cara de Gato, Los Arrastres, Santillana and Caño Viloria sectors. Three of four breaches remain open, allowing large amounts of water to enter municipalities and affecting at least 165,895 people (See Table 1). Respectively, 100 per cent and 97 per cent of the municipalities of Sucre and San Benito Abad have been affected, including their urban centres.

Water levels for the 2022 emergency have increased by approximately 40 cm compared to the 2021 emergency, reaching a height of between 1.5 and 3 metres, which has impacted new communities located in higher areas, representing approximately 10,000 more people than the 2021 emergency. Likewise, these water levels are causing breaks in the road network, which, according to local authorities and their communities, could leave the municipalities of Majagual, Guaranda, Achí, San Benito Abad and San Jacinto del Cauca inaccessible. This situation has generated new humanitarian impacts on the communities affected by the flooding in the 2021 emergency, exacerbating their needs and vulnerabilities.

On 28 June 2022, the National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD) held a national Unified Command Post (PMU) meeting with the mayors of the 11 affected municipalities and operational and technical entities from the National Disaster Risk Management System (SNGRD) to brief them on the following actions to be conducted on the ground and the strategy for coordinating said actions:

  • Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA).

  • Temporary Shelters.

  • Emergency Humanitarian Assistance.

  • Yellow emergency deployment.

  • Coordination meetings and establishment of national PMU in Majagual to support coordinated actions and strategies on the ground.

  • Initiation of Single Registry of Victims.

Per UNGRD’s request to the Office for the United Nations Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 7 July 2022, it has become necessary to convene a support and cooperation table within the framework of the emergency in the Mojana Subregion to join efforts and thus enable the development and implementation of basic humanitarian assistance lines. This request for support was extended to the CRCS to support specific areas coordinated by the UNGRD.

This emergency damaged crops, livelihoods, infrastructure, housing, access roads and a large part of the trade sector, affecting 43,453 people, mainly from the Sucre department. As part of response actions, UNGRD, in coordination with governmental and non-governmental organizations, supported these municipalities for three months through food and non-food assistance such as food kits, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, tarps, blankets, hammocks, mats and building materials.