IOM Steps-Up Support to Victims of Deadly Floods and Landslides in Colombia

News and Press Release
Originally published

Deadly floods and landslides brought on by the longest and most severe rainy seasons recorded in Colombia in the last 50 years, have killed 444 people and directly affected more than three million residents in the vast majority of the 1,121 municipalities in the country.

Working with the Colombian government, IOM is investing some US$ 22 million received from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Colombia's Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF), the Ministry of Education, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Organization's own funds, to assist those most severely affected by building emergency shelters, providing food rations and ensuring that 35,000 children can return to temporary classrooms.

IOM and the Ministry of Education are erecting tents and rehabilitating temporary structures while damaged or destroyed classrooms are being rebuilt. At the same time, IOM continues to work on the rehabilitation of 142 damaged schools in eight departments.

IOM and its partners also provided school supplies for 29,657 students in the department of Bolívar, with an additional 25,117 school kits to be distributed to children in the departments of Sucre and Nariño.

"We are working very hard to ensure that the assistance reaches the areas with the greatest needs," said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia, and added, "The damage goes beyond our imagination. Luckily two entire towns were evacuated just before landslides swallowed all structures. Colombia will need a lot of support to repair the damage left by this horrendous winter."

With resources provided by the UN CERF, IOM is building 750 emergency shelters in the departments of Sucre and Cordoba, in northern Colombia. The shelters, locally known as tambos, are elevated structures built next to flooded houses, in order to avoid further forced displacement of families.

With ICBF funding, IOM distributed over 80,000 food rations for children under five living in temporary shelters in twelve departments around the country. Some 255 tents are being distributed to community daycare centres caring for more 12,000 infants in 10 departments.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo, IOM Bogota, Tel: +57 6397777. Email: