Colombia: Mudslide: Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° 1 MDRCO012

A. Situation Analysis

Description of Disaster

On the night of 31 March 2017, increased rainfall caused the Mocoa, Sangoyaco and Mulata Rivers to overflow, which in turn generated a mudslide in the municipality of Mocoa, capital of the department of Putumayo. UNGRD reported that the affected area received 33 per cent of its monthly total of rainfall (130 mm of the 400-mm monthly average) on the night of the disaster. Per reports, 273 people perished and 262 are injured; injured residents have been treated, and the most serious cases have been transferred to medical centres in Neiva, Popayan and Bogota2. There have been 399 Restoration of Family Links (RFL) requests, 25 homes have been destroyed and more than 300 families have been affected. According to the latest official report from the UNGRD-coordinated national crisis room, 17 neighbourhoods were affected (29 blocks), with the greatest devastation seen in the districts of San Fernando, San Miguel, Independencia, Chaparros, San Agustín, Naranjito, Pablo VI, Avenida 17 de Julio, Miraflores and Progreso; the hospital network has collapsed, and 85 per cent of the department was left without electricity, which has since been partially restored. Three aqueducts and the sewage system are affected, 10 roads are damaged, 2 bridges collapsed and 5 are being rehabilitated.

The number of affected people could increase once the information from damage assessments is consolidated. Because of the magnitude of the emergency, the government of the department of Putumayo declared a state of disaster, through which aid from the national government and other agencies is being mobilized to the affected areas.

Following an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet at Nariño House, the Colombian government has assessed the catastrophe and the need to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected people and infrastructure investments to rebuild Mocoa and decided to declare an economic and social emergency.

A total of 714 people are being housed in temporary collective centres in locations prepared for that purpose:

  • Putumayo Technical Institute Coliseum

  • El Jardín

  • Organización Zonal Indígena (OZIP)

  • América

In total, 200 tents with the capacity to house 1,000 people were set up at the Mocoa Sports Unit; however, many of the affected families are staying with relatives and friends, which makes it difficult for them to access humanitarian aid.

The Departmental Crisis Room reports that the most affected areas are in Mocoa's urban areas, whose residents are mostly displaced populations that engage in informal economic activities.

A mass burial took place on the afternoon of 3 April 2017, and Colombian Red Cross Society staff specializing in psychosocial support (PSS) was there to accompany the community. The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA)'s Humanitarian Country Team has identified gaps in the humanitarian response for families not being housed in collective centres, as well as the need to include rights protection, childcare, gender and action-without-harm approach issues in humanitarian aid actions.