- CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN
Heavy rains and consequently flooding in the department of Putumayo have caused the overflow of the Putumayo, Guamuez, Orito and Guineo Rivers, causing a humanitarian crisis affecting nearly 16,500 families (74,000 persons, of which 29,600 are children) in ten of the 13 municipalities.
Putumayo is a Colombian department located on the southwest of the country between the Caquetá and Putumayo rivers, bordering to the north the departments of Cauca and Caquetá and to the south the Republic of Ecuador. The security situation in the area is complex due to the presence of illegal armed groups. According to local authorities, there are several rural areas with restricted access due to a high level of landmine contamination and threats of illegal armed groups.
Authorities are providing assistance and humanitarian partners in the area have been carrying-out need assessments in various sectors to complement the national response with food security, nutrition, water, and sanitation and hygiene programs. The floods have aggravated previous vulnerabilities in the department. The communities in these areas are frequently victims of landmine and unexploded ordnance accidents, and their children are vulnerable to child recruitment by armed groups, abuse and sexual exploitation and the occupation of schools by illegal armed groups. Access to food and transportation was limited even before the emergency. These conditions are complicating the response by national or local authorities, who face restrictions in their operations in the affected area.
The Government and humanitarian coordination structures in place – including UNICEF, other UN organisations, NGOs, and local authorities with the support of the Colombian Red Cross, Red Unidos (United Network) – are assessing damages and needs, especially in the urban areas of Puerto Asis.