Food aid for nearly 40,000 families affected by last year’s flooding is close to perishing as a local chamber of commerce has suspended delivery to victims due to apparent cost overruns in aid spending, Caracol Radio reports.
The suspension order came in the northern department of Cordoba after Colombia’s comptroller general, Sandra Morelli, warned that some of the food products in question, along with hygiene kits, might be being bought at unnecessarily high prices.
The owner of the storage site, Gustavo Marin Rincon, has asked the chamber to lift the suspension, at least temporarily, for fear that any delay in delivering supplies could risk aggravating further the humanitarian situation in the region.
Marin added that while he welcomes the comptroller’s investigation into cost overruns, everything bought to date has been in accordance with regulations and not exceeded any established spending limits.
Cordoba has been under scrutiny from Morelli recently, with the comptroller stating last week that the department has seen a 39% excess in the costs of food and toiletry kits delivered to this region to help flood victims.
These findings came after research into corrupt practice found marked differences in the costs of goods as recorded in the contracts and those for the goods which were actually included in the food kits and bathroom kits.
The recent rainy season cost the lives of hundreds of people, while over a million were severely affected. The government declared last year that over $500 million would be needed to aid the flood relief, though it has since faced continued problems over the distribution of the aid money and supplies.