Experts warn that the Cauca River could endanger a million people in the Valle del Cauca department if levees are not reinforced properly, with one area considered to be a ticking time bomb.
The team of Dutch and Colombian experts, requested by President Santos, have had previous experience in reconstructing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as well as several projects in Asia, reports Dutch news website RNW.
They have pinpointed the area of Jarillon, to the east of Cali, as needing most urgent rectification, after identifying the dam as being in particularly poor condition. They further stressed the need to reconstruct levees that are not strong enough to protect those who live in the area.
“It is necessary to make decisions in this regard to protect the entire district water level from flooding because there are a million people [living] with high risks,” Fortunato Carvajal, a local engineer who leads the mission, told Caracol Radio Thursday.
The engineer added that reconstruction efforts must be enacted as soon as the waters lower, providing opportunities to design and carry out the necessary work.
The mission will now assess several areas on the Atlantic Coast before delivering their final conclusions to President Santos on Monday.
Last year’s rainy season affected over 2 million people and caused more than $6 billion in damages.