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Project: Flooding in department of Bolivar, Colombia (August 15, 2022)

Pays
Colombie
Sources
Fundación Abba Colombia
Date de publication

Situation in numbers

Situation in numbers of the humanitarian response provided:

1,500 food kits delivered

1,500 families assisted

7,500 approx. people assisted

4 Municipalities and 14 villages where humanitarian intervention was carried out

INTRODUCTION TO INTERVENTION

The AbbaCol Foundation and World Jewish relief teamed up to deploy 1,500 food aid supplies in the region (click here to watch videoclip) due to the current season of heavy rains in the Region, also known as "La Niña", flooding and overflowing rivers have left communities with various damages and losses to their homes and critical infrastructure, as well as their livelihoods. The continuous flooding left a situation where thousands of people have seen their communities damaged bit by bit. However, it was in the second week of July that four dams burst, causing the peak of the crisis. According to information provided by the Governorate of Bolivar in its "Registry of Victims" (16 July 2022) more than 13,000 houses have been partially damaged, 50 houses have been destroyed, 18 health centres have restricted service and access, and 2,328.5 hectares of crops have been lost. According to the UNGRD, approximately 30,000 people have been registered as victims of this crisis, and 50,000 are still waiting to be registered. Most (if not all) of them are economically vulnerable households.

The area covered by this alert is located in the middle of 3 sub-basins formed by the Magdalena River (Colombia's main river), Chicagua and Mompox. It is also known as the Mojana region in Colombia, and is constantly and heavily affected by flooding during the rainy season, due to its hydrography and topography. Due to flooding in the communities, the red alert and humanitarian needs in terms of food security and nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene have increased. People who lost their homes or had severe damage are staying with relatives or neighbours. Although this has been occurring since the second quarter of the year, local governments have been forced to declare a state of emergency throughout June and July, in the hope of resolving and the pressing needs of those most in need.

This, together with the fact that the dams burst in the second week of July, leads to the summit on the flood crisis in the region and to the origin of this alert note. According to the Colombian Institute for Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies, during the months of June, July and August, rainfall is expected to be 30% above normal, aggravating the already critical situation, followed by an increase in rainfall of 20% above average in September, October and November 2022. The situation continues in remote communities where the state is struggling to send aid, and local authorities are turning to national and international NGOs for help in managing the crisis. Local capacities have been overwhelmed and humanitarian aid organisations have received requests for help in managing the crisis. Humanitarian aid organisations have received requests from Civil Protection to complement the aid being provided, as the government response is not sufficient to respond to this crisis. Local civil society has been organising from nearby municipalities to respond on a very small scale, but the needs are far greater than the aid being delivered as the emergency has caused affected families to move into shelters and refuges, as the surrounding communities do not have temporary shelters. The floods have also caused losses to the community's crops, which has affected their food security on a medium scale. As in the past, there are two reasons why humanitarian aid is not being distributed to the right extent to meet the needs and respond accurately to this crisis. The first is the fact that this region has a relevant history of armed conflict. This area is a corridor through which guerrillas and paramilitaries circulate. This means that a limited number of NGOs can reach these places by their own means. Only organisations with good coordination with the government will be able to receive logistical and security support to reach the affected areas. The other reason is the political bias in certain municipalities, especially since 2022 was the year of the presidential elections. The north of Colombia is linked to many political campaigns, especially now that the country is in the process of change of the new government.

AbbaCol Foundation and World Jewish Relief arrived in the affected area to coordinate with local and national authorities the humanitarian deployment to reach the affected areas. Both entities are responding to life-saving needs, especially food insecurity and desnutrition needs.