Colombia is suffering from flooding, not one region but a vast majority of the country is at some level inundated or at threat from inundation. So, Tuesday’s statement from the UN comes as no surprise.
In the final months of 2010 and into early 2011 Colombia was waterlogged, the rains continued throughout the country, rivers burst their banks, there was a tremendous loss of life due to landslides and thousands if not millions of people became displaced due to this extent of the disaster.
In a statement drawn from the World Reconstruction Conference, Colombia is referred to as not only having failed to prevent natural disasters but having shown a distinct “lack of interest” in compensating those who have lost considerably due to natural disasters.
And of course, it comes as no revelation that those sectors of society that are most at risk and who have lost the most and stand to lose more are the more marginalized people in Colombia.
And while there has been a short respite in the rains in the interior of the country in recent days, most significantly in the capital of Bogota, the rivers continue to rise in the Caribbean section of the country due to the delay in the drainage from the flood plains further upstream.
Jobs are being lost, industry is suffering, and even the mighty banana trade is down by 16 per cent as declared by the firm Chiquita. And yet, the government seems to be doing nothing.
President Juan Manual Santos has publicly called emergency summits of his ministers to address the ongoing crisis but on the ground there has been little if any change. That Bogota’s major airport has had to close one runway due to flooding is just one example of national slovenliness towards this growing problem.
And all the while, local politicians in town and municipalities that are constantly battered by any change in the climate, however insignificant, use the disasters for their own gain in the hope of winning further votes in the upcoming regional elections.