Connecting climate action with COVID-19 responses in Colombia

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Enhanced coping mechanisms are shielding vulnerable communities in Colombia from the multiplying impacts of COVID-19, climate change and environmental degradation.

*"We want to thank you for sending us these supplies during this quarantine and, indeed, very difficult situation. This helps us a lot and keeps the family united. We will plant our vegetables and crops, in addition to using the water tank that we need so much during this drought, and we are deeply committed to going forward and getting through this.” ***- Luz Mary Ordoñez from the village of Las Palmas, in Ayapel, Córdoba.**

Luz Mary Ordoñez did not know what to expect when she learned about the Government of Colombia’s measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis in a newscast. She was struck by the fear of uncertainty. This isn’t something new for Luz Mary. She has experienced in many times before.

In 2010, her community and the inhabitants of Colombia’s La Mojana province, suffered major losses directly related to climate change. More than 50 percent of the region was flooded for over two years due to heavy rainfall, destroying 22,000 homes and leaving more than 250,000 people homeless.

Just as the communities began to recover, one of the worst droughts in recent years struck. The people of La Mojana went from being surrounded by water to not having a single drop.

For these families, the COVID-19 health crisis is only made worse by climate change. Increasingly harsh and frequent droughts limit their access to water while floods affect agricultural production, transport, human health, biodiversity, and the availability of safe water. Safe water to drink, wash hands and ensure sanitary conditions is an essential component of global efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

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