Weeks of heavy rains are causing emergencies in South America.
Rains are expected to continue until mid-April.
• In Colombia, on 31 March, a massive mudslide killed 254 people; injured 203 and 220 are still missing in the city of Mocoa, in the department of Putumayo.
• The Government declared a state of emergency for the region.
• Roads and bridges to Mocoa are blocked or destroyed making access extremely difficult.
• The Government of Peru declared a National Emergency Situation for the northern department of Piura, where more than 299,109 people are displaced due to floods.
• Shelter solutions and/or support to host families need to be considered.
• WASH and health are a priority due to significant damage to water and sanitation systems. Eleven departments are under a 90-day sanitary emergency.
• The Government of Peru has requested international assistance in responding to emergency needs and the UN is elaborating a Flash Appeal to support the National Response Plan.
• In Ecuador, 21 people have died and 1,410 are displaced throughout the country due to floods. Authorities have opened 32 temporary shelters in ten provinces, although only about 35 per cent of the displaced population are in the official shelters.
• Authorities have reported 145 houses are destroyed and 9,096 need repairs.
Three main rivers overflowed due to the heavy rains, which was the cause of the massive slide of mud, rocks and water in the municipality of Mocoa in the southern part of the country. Meteorological reports indicate that on the night of the slide (31 March) the amount of rainfall was equal to 30 per cent of the monthly average for the zone.
As rescue operations continue, it is feared that the toll of people affected will rise. So far 254 people have died and 220 are missing. Five educational institutions are damaged and 25 houses are destroyed. A morgue has been setup outside of the city of Mocoa.
Authorities have set up three temporary shelters that are housing about 1,760 people. Seventeen neighbourhoods in the city of Mocoa have been affected, which has a population of 45,000 inhabitants. Water and electrical services are limited in the city and surrounding areas. The hospital network has also collapsed.
There are more than 1,130 specialists responding to the emergency including: rescue, humanitarian assistance, military, police and the Red Cross among others. In addition, 10 helicopters, six airplanes, seven boats and 63 vehicles available in the area.
There is no request for international assistance.
Heavy rains have battered Peru since December (coastal El Niño) triggering deadly floods and mudslides, mostly in the Northern provinces of Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ancash and -to some extent- Lima.
OCHA dispatched a 12-member United Nations Disaster and Coordination Team (UNDAC) to assist the response at the request of the Resident Coordinator on 20 March. This UNDAC team carried out a Multi-sectorial Initial Rapid Assessments (MIRA) with humanitarian partners in five provinces (Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad and Lima) from 23 – 27 March.
To date, more than 30,000 houses have been destroyed or severely damaged, displacing more than 132,779 people who have mostly sought refuge with host communities. Only 10 per cent of those displaced are in 67 public shelters or displacement sites. Around 51 per cent need some form of food support. An additional 894,403 people have been affected though not displaced.
The national response has targeted the displaced population who are in shelters; however, the Government is creating a public shelter strategy to ease the possible burden on host families and better identify the needs of the displaced population. So far, 67 public shelters and sites are open.
More than 450 schools have been severely damaged or destroyed in 12 departments, which prevents 1.9 million students from attending classes. Assessments are still ongoing and some 216 temporary educational spaces have been provided.
At least 35 health centres have been destroyed which limits the access to health services for some 280,000 people.
As a result of infrastructure damage, access to some localities and even urban areas in Piura, Lambayeque, Ancash, La Libertad and Lima is limited. Some 18,841 km of roads throughout the country and 232 bridges have been destroyed or affected. Repair work to roads is ongoing and 38 air bridges have been established to move humanitarian aid; however, communities, especially in rural zones, remain isolated and hard to reach.
Water and sanitation systems have collapsed in many of the affected areas especially in Piura, Lambayeque and La Libertad. There is a concern for the lack of safe drinking water and the spread of diseases. The Government, together with humanitarian partners, have implemented an emergency sanitation plan that includes fumigation and vector control activities in the affected areas and public hygiene campaigns.
Agriculture has been affected with losses in staple crops and irrigation systems. Assessments determine that about 160,000 people are food insecure.
An orange alert and a State of Emergency has been declared for the provinces of Santa Elena, Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Esmeraldas, El Oro and Loja. Furthermore, 21 provinces (out of 24) have reported emergency incidents linked to heavy rains, landslides and floods during the last 30 days.
About 45 local emergency operations committees are active in the country. The Emergency Operations Committee of Quito has declared a State of Emergency in the capital.
There are about 94 km of affected roads throughout the country, 27 affected bridges and 9 destroyed. Two main roads are completely closed and 28 are partially opened, while 33 secondary roads have been affected, of which 16 are completely closed. Approximately 71 schools are affected.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.