Bogota authorities are expecting 1200 displaced families from Tolima to arrive in the city this weekend. The
capital fears that it is unable to take care of more refugees and demands
that the national government recognize the gravity of displacement and establish refugee camps.
Bogota has neither the space nor capacity to deal with the expected 1200 displaced families, Health Secretary Hector Zambrano told local Caracol Radio. He said that the government of Alvaro Uribe refuses to accept the problems that exist with displacement.
“We do not share what some top government officials say. The issue of displacement is not about the occupation of public space. This is a very short-sighted and limited view of the problems of displacement in Colombia,” Zambrano said.
The Health Secretary urged the government to consider what other countries in war are doing, to recognize the problem of displacement and to create refugee camps.
“What is happening in Colombia is that the government did not take that decision and the problem of displacement is treated like dirt that is hidden under the carpet,” Zambrano added.
More than 1000 displaced families are already living in Bogota’s Parque Tercer Milenio where authorities declared a health alert on Thursday after the District Emergency Committee examined the medical condition of the
displaced who have been living in the park for more than four
The examination revealed that 131 people show symptoms of the AH1N1
virus, three are infected with HIV and others have tuberculosis and
According to the newspaper El Tiempo, authorities started to evacuate the ill and sick from the Parque on Thursday afternoon. Only 28 left the park voluntarily.
The displaced gather in the Parque Tercer Milenio to protest against forced displacements and insufficient aid from the government.
A representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will visit Bogota in the next few days in order to mediate between the displaced and the Government, El Espectador reported.
There are currently between three and four million displaced people in Colombia because of the country’s 45-year long violent conflict.