Colombia: Floods - Information Bulletin n° 2

Situation Report
Originally published
The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.
In Brief

This Information Bulletin no. 02/2004 is being issued based on the needs described below reflecting the information available at this time. CHF 50,000has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Donors are encouraged to provide unearmarked funds needed to repay DREF. Based on further updates and details from assessment reports, or should the situation deteriorate, the Federation may consider international support through an Emergency Appeal.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

  • In Bogotá, Colombia: Walter Cotte, National Director of Operations and Relief , e-mail:, phone: +571-437-6300, fax: +571-437-6301
  • In Lima, Peru: Magda Pinilla, DPP Delegate, Lima Regional Delegation, e-mail:, phone: +511-221-8151, fax: +511-441-3607
  • In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, FederationR egional Officer, AmericasDepartment, e-mail:, phone: +41-22-730-4535, fax: +41-22-733-0395
All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Responsei n 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

The Situation

The rainy season, which begins in March in Colombia, intensified during the last several weeks, causing the Magdalena, Cauca, Atrato, Zulia and Sinu rivers to flood. As a result of the rainy season, there have also been mudslides and wind storms throughout the affected areas. Roads, houses and crops have been damaged in the departments of Antioquia, Boyaca, Bolivar, Cauca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cordoba, Choco, Cundimarca, Guajira, Meta, Norte de Santander, Tolima, Valle del Cauca and in the capital city of Bogotá. The latest report from the Colombian Red Cross (CRC), issued on 10 May, indicates that 9,071 families have been affected (44,860 persons) by these floods, and there have been 5 deaths and 6 injuries.

At the beginning of the rainy season, the government's Institute of Water, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) activated the National Disaster Preparedness and Response System (SNPAD), which authorized the release of money from the National Disaster Fund, to be managed by regional committees. Local municipal committees are directly responsible for responding to emergency situations. These municipal committees are supporting the evacuation of victims, and are coordinating the adaptation of temporary shelters and the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Affected families per department, updated 10 May, 2004:

Families affected
Norte de Santander

Source: CRC Report

MAP - Colombia: Most affected departments, by families

According to IDEAM, the heavy rains are ike l ly to last until mid June and the levels of the main rivers in Colombia are expected to rise, causing further disasters.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

At the national level, the Colombian Red Cross (CRC), through its branches in the most vulnerable departments, has been working in coordination with the National Department for Disaster Prevention and Response (DNPAD) and the institutions of the SNPAD since flooding began, monitoring the situation in order to channel the necessary resources to support the emergency relief efforts.

At the local level, the CRC is supporting the affected families, helping in the evacuation of victims and the management of temporary shelters. The CRC's technical staff is conducting a damage and needs assessment, while volunteers are helping in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Once the damage and needs assessments from the SNPAD and the Red Cross branches in the affected areas have been consolidated, the CRC is planning to launch a global intervention plan for the rainy season. Using the Federation's DREF funding, the operation will seek to attend to the immediate needs of the emergency and the affected persons. The following table illustrates the beneficiaries and food and non-food items that the CRC plans to include in this global plan:

Food and non-food items
Norte de Santander Puerto Santander, Cucuta 400 food packages, 200 kitchen kits, 400 mats, 400 sheets, 400 blankets
Cauca Padilla, Patia, Guapi 250 food packages, 125 kitchen kits, 250 mats, 250 sheets, 250 blankets
Casanare Yopal, Villanueva 150 food packages, 75 kitchen kits, 150 mats, 150 sheets, 150 blankets
Cordoba Tierralta, Chima 200 food packages, 100 kitchen kits, 200 mats, 200 sheets, 200 blankets

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

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