The Colombian government and locally operating oil companies will jointly look for underground water wells in order to combat an ongoing drought in the central east of the country that cost the lives of tens of thousands of animals.
The Environment Ministry authorized locally active oil companies to supply water to relief agencies and Casanare authorities.
During a visit of Environment Minister Luz Helena Sarmiento to Casanare, the minister asked the companies to “suspend irrigation to a minimum, so that this water can be allocated to the emergency.”
Sarmiento also urged the mining companies to minimize their water consumption at least until rains return to Casanare which has not had rain since December.
According to local news website Llanera, the oil companies announced that they intend to contribute bulldozers, tanker trucks and backhoes.
Dumping trucks, gloves, masks and creosote have also been donated as they are necessary for handling and disposing of the more than 20 thousand dead animals.
“The oil industry gave 580 million pesos [$294 thousand] and [Canadian oil company] Pacific Rubiales has committed itself to the emergency by offering 100 tankers for a period of 15 days,” Casanare Governor Marco Tulio Ruiz told the website.
Additionally, the governor said, the Canadians have promised to send drilling equipment to reach local water wells.
Ruiz also said an emergency fund will be created to provide the region with medicine, food and additional equipment that is necessary to attend the state’s living and dead animals.
Colombia is typically susceptible to seasonal droughts, however the severity of the current drought in Casanare is unusual in its decimation of animal populations.
Researchers predict global climate change will have a disproportionate and early effect on tropical countries, such as Colombia, where the ecosystems are highly specialized and not accustomed to drastic fluctuations in temperature.