Colombia: Heavy Rains Causes Floods and Landslides in Northern Areas

Colombia has been battered by heavy rains since mid-September, triggering floods and landslides in northern departments and impacting more than 260,000 people, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

According to OCHA, the passage of Hurricane Iota and the development of La Nina intensified the rainfall since November 13 particularly in the northern parts of the country.

On November 16, Hurricane Iota made landfall in the islands of San Andres and Providencia as Category 5 Storm at 240 kilometers per hour, the strongest storm to hit the nation. The powerful storm caused massive damage: 98 percent of the infrastructure on the island of Providencia was destroyed and left at least two dead people. An estimated 112 residents had to be evacuated. The departments of Antioquia, Arauca, Choco, Bolívar, and Guajira were also hit by Iota’s powerful wrath. 

READ: Hurricane Iota: Death Toll is Rising as Rescue Operations Continue, Honduran President Pleads for Help 

Heavy flooding and landslide in Northern Departments 

Colombia Civil Defense reported flooding and landslides in 14 departments from November 13 to 19. The affected departments include Bolivar, Antioquia, Norte de Santander, Atlántico, Cundinamarca, Sucre, Chocó, Magdalena, and La Guajira.

The municipalities of Cartagena, Turbaco, San Pablo, and Santa Rosa of the department of Bolivar are among the worst hit. On November 14, flooding and landslides were reported in these areas which affected almost 70,000 people across Bolivar.

Death and Damages of properties 

In Antioquia, the Civil Defense said that a massive landslide in Dabeiba left at least four people dead and 67 homes destroyed on November 13. Days earlier, a landslide in San Luis also occurred which injured one person and damaged at least four homes.

In the department of Norte de Santander, deaths were reported as heavy flooding struck the area in early November. Since November, this heavy flooding has destroyed more than 150 homes, killed at least two people, and has impacted 1,415 residents in the municipality of Cúcuta.

Atlántico Department reported that 500 homes were damaged across seven municipalities. Most damages were in Malambo when flooding struck Nemocón in Cundinamarca on November 13, impacting 2,400 people.

It was also on November 13 that heavy rains and floods damaged 1,500 homes and affected 6,500 people across five municipalities in the department of Sucre. In Chocó, more than 1,700 people were affected by floods that occurred in Lloró.

Since late October, Magdalena Department had been experiencing floods. The flooding has since damaged a total of 4,242 homes. The Civil Defense estimates that 22,2205 people have been affected across seven municipalities including Ciénaga and Santa Bárbara De Pinto which were hit the hardest. 

Since early November, severe flooding was also reported in Maicao in La Guajira Department, which has affected 46,000 people. The inundation of the Tapias River in Uribia municipality has caused the risk of food shortages in Uribia municipality.

READ ALSO: Hurricane Iota: Death Toll in Central America Now at 40 as Rescue Operation Continues

Hurricane Iota Aftermath in Colombia 

As of November 19, OCHA reported that 6,300 people were affected in Providencia. Meanwhile, 700 families were impacted by Iota in San Andrés. Meanwhile, the Colombian Red Cross Society (CRCS) revealed that 155,000 people have been affected in the Cartagena district in the Bolivar department.

ON November 18, a decree declaring a Departmental Disaster in San Andrés, Providencia, Santa Catalina, and its keys was issued by Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that Colombia urgently needs shelter, hygiene kits, water, sanitation elements, medical personnel, and medicines to effectively respond to people affected by the successive hurricanes, heavy rains, flooding, and landslides. 

READ NEXT: Hurricane Iota: Death Toll in Central America Now at 40 as Rescue Operation Continues

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