Oxfam gears up its flood aid in Colombia but is in desperate need of funds
Number of people hit by Colombia’s worse flood in decades continues to rise
The number of people affected by the flood emergency in Colombia has risen by 50,000 people in the last two weeks, bringing the total number affect to more than 2,100,000 said international agency Oxfam today. The agency is increasing its aid effort and has already reached hundreds of people in seven localities across the flood zone. The agency plans to reach 200,000 people and is appealing for donations.
Guillermo Toro, Oxfam Disaster and Risk Reduction Manager, said:
“The temporary pause in the rains over the past few days is a relief but we know the worst is yet to come – especially for the poorest people in remote areas. Access to food and loss of income due to the flooding are more and more worrying. In many cases people will not be able to plant or harvest crops for at least seven months. Nobody can hold out that long without the right amount of help.”
“It is a good sign that the Government has already announced measures to raise more resources for the emergency. Oxfam is concerned that the response of the international community has not matched a similar level of funding. The delivery of resources on the ground is still far too slow.”
“The image we faced on arrival in the Atlantic zone was one of just roofs above the waterline. Two days later, everything was below water – even the roofs. About 65,000 people are affected in this area. Towns have completely disappeared under water. Families fled to temporary shelters in nearby towns, where they were lucky to get food. These shelters house only 10 per cent of the affected population. The remaining 90 per cent are staying with families or friends, identifying their location with a red flag. To our surprise we found dry towns full of red flags where 90 per cent of the people affected still hadn’t received any help.”
Oxfam is calling for donations in order to continue with the relief effort to reach 200,000 poor people affected by the floods in Colombia. Donations can be made through the Oxfam website: http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/colombia-floods. This is the first appeal Oxfam has made for an emergency in Colombia.
Notes for editors:
The number of people affected by the flood emergency in Colombia is still increasing: at latest reports, 2,171,874 have been affected in total, with 300 deaths, 289 injured, and 59 people disappeared. More than 316,114 houses have been affected in some way, and 3,000 have been completely destroyed.
Oxfam specializes in providing water, sanitation and hygiene to communities affected by humanitarian crises, a service heavily in demand in the emergency currently suffered by Colombia at this time. Since Oxfam scaled-up its response to the Colombia flood emergency, it has:
- Helped reconstruct aqueducts in the Mojana region;
- Delivered 600 water filters to the same number of families, and plans to deliver 2,900 more filters in coming weeks;
- Installed 94 potable water storage tanks in affected areas.
In coming weeks Oxfam will be working in urban areas affected by the flooding, supporting the reconstruction of water works, installing two water treatment plants in the Choco region and, together with the Colombian Red Cross, installing an additional water treatment plant in the Atlantic region capable of providing water for 100,000 people. Oxfam aims to reach 200,000 of the people most affected by the flood emergency in Colombia.
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