Colombia

Colombia: Second Rainy Season - Impact of Natural Disasters 01 Jan - 13 Oct 2008

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I. SECOND RAINY SEASON:
Situation

According to IDEAM , the second rainy season in Colombia began on September 15th and runs through mid-December. Thus far, the impact has reached alarming levels for the humanitarian community, since the rainy season already arrived following a dry season which was reduced to only a few days. This situation, according to IDEAM, is due to tropical depressions crossing the country and cyclone systems which have been moving through the Caribbean over the past three months.

According to IDEAM's predictions, precipitation should continue and increase in northern and central Colombia, with the possibility of flash flooding, landslides, floods and avalanches; as well as a probability of wind storms, with alerts issued for the river basins along the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta for flash flooding due to Tropical Storm Omar and tropical depression no. 16 of the hurricane season. For this same reason, the Magdalena and Cauca rivers, particularly along their lower stretches, have had greater rainfall than in past years.

Climactic conditions:

Hurricanes: On June 1st the hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean officially began, and typically extends to November 30th. To date, 3 events have become hurricanes, with an important impact throughout the Caribbean and an impact as well on climactic conditions in Colombia, without making landfall in the country. IDEAM on October 14th in special communiqué No.75 warned that along the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts tropical depression No. 16 had formed in the western Caribbean. Tropical Storm Omar continues to pass east in the Caribbean. These two tropical systems do not represent any direct threat to Colombian territory, but they do have an indirect impact due to persistent rainfall and high wave height.

Impact:

117 municipalities in 18 departments have been affected. Events have left 5 dead, 19 injured, and 2 missing, as well as 214,982 affected, belonging to 42,991 families.

According to the CRC (Colombian Red Cross, report: La Cruz Roja colombiana asiste en la segunda ola invernal October 15th, 2008), the majority of affected communities pertain to the most vulnerable population groups. Families have been forced from their homes into temporary shelters such as schools and warehouses in non-flooded districts, while others have moved into family member's or friend's homes. In both scenarios there is an increased likelihood of cases of severe diarrhea, respiratory infections, skin infections and vector disease, among other health situations which worsen the emergencies.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.