The torrential rains that have been falling almost non-stop from May last year until now have resulted in the deaths of 448, while 73 went missing and more than 3.3 million people were affected, a government agency said Saturday.
In the course of this year alone, 120 people died as a result of landslides and floods that are crippling the country’s infrastructure, a spokesman of the Interior and Justice Minister said Saturday.
According to the national agency for disaster prevention and attention, nearly 450,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos warned mayors and governors to be an their highest alert as the country’s meteorological institute warned for an intensification of the rains that already have caused a red alert in the region north of Bogota where several towns have been flooded.
“Mayors and governors, please be monitoring the situation,” Santos said Saturday during a public meeting in the Pacific port town of Buenaventura.
According to the country’s meteorological institute, the country’s most affected departments are Boyaca, Antioquia, Nariño, Cundinamarca, Tolima, Norte de Santander, Santander and Valle del Cauca, but emergencies are also occurring in the coffee region, Tolima, Huila and Cauca.
Meteorologists warn of an intensification of rains in the coming weeks and do not expect the dry season until the month of June.