The Colombian branch of the Red Cross reported Thursday that more than 2 million people have been affected by this year’s catastrophic rainy season.
Relief Director Carlos Ivan Marquez told state radio station Radio Nacional that the rains, floods and landslides have caused damage in 695 municipalities in 28 of the country’s 32 departments, and 275 people are confirmed to have been killed as a result of the weather. Marquez said that 404,000 families have been impacted by the rain.
Director of government aid agency Accion Social Diego Molano told Caracol Radio, “One of the unfortunate events of these floods is that the environment is an additional trap in Colombia for poverty, in the case of Gabriel, Antioquia [where a landslide killed an estimated 100 people], more than 50% of families were displaced.”
Molano explained that “natural disasters are a factor that is different than violence … it erodes the assets of the family, a person who had a small house and lost it returns again to fall into poverty.”
The rainy season has caused upwards of $5 billion in damages and international aid organizations in neighboring countries have donated money to Colombia to provide relief.