A geological fault is endangering the existence of an entire village in central Colombia, the local ombudsman warned on Friday.
The Ombudsman’s Office said Thursday that the township of Villarrica in the Tolima stste is in a critical situation as 1200 inhabitants and 624 houses are heavily impacted by the geological fault. Two hundred houses need to be evacuated immediately, while 80% of the municipality’s urban stretch is affected.
The manager of Villarrica’s hospital told newspaper El Tiempo that “there are enormous cracks in the emergency room, birth room and pediatric unit and the patients are terrified.”
Ombudsman Miguel Angel Aguilar demanded protection of the fundamental rights to life and decent housing for the 70% of Villarrica’s inhabitants who are endangered by the unstable earth underneath their village. Aguilar said that the locality risks a similar end as the village of Gramalote in northern Colombia. Gramatole was destroyed by heavy rains and abandoned in 2010.
According to El Tiempo, the administrative judge gave the City Hall of Villarrica three months to create a rescue plan for Villarrica’s situation.
The natural phenomenon that endangers the inhabitants of the area consists of a slow and imperceptible movement of the terrain. The signs of this phenomenon are terrain staggering and deformation, and cracking in the structure of buildings.
- Alertan que un pueblo colombiano puede desaparecer por falla geológica (El Nacional)
- Tutela ordena diseñar plan para salvar pueblo que se hunde en Tolima (El Tiempo)
- Defensoría advierte que Villarrica (Tolima) podría convertirse en un segundo Gramalote (Colombia Ombudsman’s Office)