Colombia

Colombia: Floods - Information Bulletin n° 3

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


In Brief
This Information Bulletin 03/2004 is being issued based on the needs described below reflecting the information available at this time. CHF 50,000 has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (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.

The Situation

The rainy season, which begins in March in Colombia, has been particularly severe this year, and has caused flooding and mudslides in several regions of the country. The latest report from the Colombian Red Cross Society (CRCS), which includes information from the beginning of the year until 28 June, indicates that since 1 January 37,064 families (186,048 persons) have been affected by the heavy rains and storms. This figure is very high, particularly considering that each year for the past four years an average of 152,279 persons have been affected by the rainy season's extreme weather. Furthermore, the government's Institute of Water, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), is predicting that the second rainy season (September-November) will have even worse consequences.

The following table illustrates he damages to date from the heavy rains that have flooded the country:

Persons dead
21
Persons injured
48
Persons missing
58
Houses destroyed
255
Houses damaged
10,559
Houses flooded
930
Crop affected (hectares)
10,829
Bridges destroyed
6
Schools damaged
8
Childcare facilities damaged
4
Community houses damaged
4
Churches damaged
1

Seventy percent of the affected people have received assistance. The other 30 percent that have not been attended to includes some of those persons affected by the latest wave of heavy rain that lashed the region in the last two weeks of June (15 to 28 June), as well as many flood victims who are living in areas of armed conflict or areas that are difficult to access. The following chart shows the number of persons and families affected by the latest rains:

Emergency
Date
Department
Families
affected
Persons
affected
Floods
15 June
Putumayo
3,500
18,320
Floods
15 June
Guaviare
777
4,072
Floods
15 June
Choco
1,123
7,414
Storm
21 June
Bolivar
160
903
Floods
21 June
Vichada
15
81
Mudslide
28 June
Arauca
Floods
28 June
Casanare
807
3,832
TOTAL
6,382
34,622

Map showing the areas affected by the latest wave of severe weather


The government, through the National Disaster Preparedness and Response System (SNPAD), authorized the release of money from the National Disaster Fund, to be managed by local committees in the affected departments. In total, COP 1,049,088,365 (490,295 CHF) were distributed, to be used during the period January to May. However, during the latest wave of heavy rain, the government released an additional COP 52,000 to provide humanitarian assistance to the departments of Arauca and Putumayo.

The IDEAM expects the number of affected people in the region to increase during July and is continuing to monitor the behaviour of the Arauca, Casanare, Guaviare, Meta, Orinoco, Putumayo and Amazonas rivers.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Colombian Red Cross Society has been supporting the programmes of the SNPAD since the beginning of the emergency situation through its Red Cross branches in the most vulnerable departments, acting according to the local emergency contingency plans.

Actions carried out by the CRCS:

  • Verification of security conditions in emergency areas prior to conducting operations in conflict areas.
  • Delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to families.
  • Provision of first aid to affected persons.
  • Evacuation of families from high risk areas to temporary shelters.
  • Search and rescue of missing persons.
  • Damage assessments in affected areas.
  • Coordination with local authorities to carry out surveys.
  • Logistics support for the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid.
  • Monitoring of illnesses related to the rainy season in order to keep the government's health sector informed.
Actions of the CRCS by department January-June 2004
Department
Emergencies
Attended
Search &
Rescue
Evacuation
Damage
Assessments
Food
Dist.
Non-Food
Dist.
CRCS
Funds
DREF
Funds
Gov.
Funds
Antioquia Floods
Mudslides
x
x
Arauca Floods
Mudslides
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Atlantico Floods
x
x
Bolivar Storms
Floods
x
x
x
x
Boyaca Floods
x
x
x
Caldas Floods
Mudslides
x
x
x
Caqueta Floods
x
x
Casanare Floods
x
x
x
x
x
Cauca Floods
x
x
Cordoba Floods
x
x
x
x
x
Choco Floods
Storms
x
x
x
x (*)
Guaviare Floods
x
x
Magdalena Floods
x
x
x
Meta Floods
Mudslides
x
x
x
Nariño Floods
x
x
Norte de Santander Floods
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Putumayo Floods
x
Quindio Mudslides
x
x
Risaralda Floods
x
x
x
x
x
Tolima Floods
x
Valle del Cauca Floods
Storms
x
Vichada Floods
x
(*) Netherlands Red Cross Funds

In May, the Federation provided CHF 50,000 from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the CRCS relief operation. These funds were used t o distribute humanitarian aid in four prioritized departments: Arauca, Casanare, Cordoba and Norte of Santander.

Humanitarian distributions carried out using DREF funds
Department
Municipalities
Food relief
packages
Non-food relief
items
Beneficiary
families
Date of
delivery
Arauca Arauca
Fortul
Saravena
325
125 kitchen kits
350 mats
182
1 June
Casanare Pore
Villanueva
150
75 kitchen kits
150 mats
150 bed sheets
150 blankets
75
1 June
Cordoba Tierralta
370
370 kitchen kits
325 mats
325 bed sheets
200 blankets
370
7 July
Norte de Santander Cucuta
Puerto Santander
200
200 kitchen kits
300 mats
400 bed sheets
400 blankets
200
17 May
TOTAL
1,045
770 kitchen kits
1,125 mats
875 bed sheets
750 blankets
827

Map of distributions carried out using DREF funds


As the American Red Cross is working with the CRCS on humanitarian projects in some of the areas that have been affected by the floods, the ARC has also participated in the relief effort. Between February and June, the ARC attended 16,682 displaced and vulnerable families affected by the rains with the following assistance:
Medical consultations
11,617
Medicine
12,020
Deontology consultations
9,318
Oral hygiene kits
7,701
Vaccines
2,425
Smear tests
1,363
IMCI workshops
220
Group psychological therapy sessions
3,250
Individual psychological therapy sessions
1,047
Food packages
16,600
Kitchen kits
2,075
Hygiene kits
10,375
Dishes
10,375
Tents
8,748
Blankets
8,749


The ARC also provided building material for houses, and to improve the water and sanitation infrastructures.

The same way, other Partner National Societies that work in the country, such as the Spanish, French and Netherlands National Societies, contributed to the relief efforts within the framework of their ongoing projects.

In the department of Casanare, where the Bajo Upia-Disaster Preparedness project of the CRCS and the Federation is under way, it was evident that the community's disaster response capacity had been strengthened, as the communities of Paz de Ariporo and Villanueva were able to apply their emergency plans when the heavy rains hit their municipalities. They rapidly mobilized the people, putting valuables in safe places and gathering in the designated temporary shelter. An emergency kit was already located in the shelter, and was used to communicate with the local Red Cross branch and the local emergency committee so they could be assisted with food items.

For the second rainy season of the year (beginning in late September), the CRCS is planning an operation in the departments of Casanare, Cordoba, Choco and Putumayo.

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 http://www.ifrc.org

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