Colombia’s Congress and Comptroller General’s Office have demanded that transport and road authorities be more responsive to issues and emergencies on Colombia’s essential roadways, as a result of this year’s heavy rainy season.
The Comptroller General’s Office has opened a preliminary investigation into the Ministry of Transport and the director of Invias, Colombia’s roads authority, for not providing information on the causes and statuses of roads affected by this year’s rainy season.
Infrastructure Comptroller Nelson Izaciga made the announcement, and explained that in December their office had issued various warnings and attempted contact with the two officials, with no answer.
Izaciga explained that the government has no knowledge of the current road emergency statuses other than what Colombian media has already reported.
Colombia’s Congress has asked government officials to answer for road damages caused by winter, and expressed concern about damages caused by winter rains to major roadways, such as those leading to the cities of Manizales and Bogota.
Senator Carlos Ramiro Chavarro called on a number of government officials, including Bogota Mayor Clara Lopez, to restore and keep Colombia’s roadways in good condition saying that damages would cause serious problems to Colombia’s Consumer Price Index due to the subsequent high cost of transportation.
The Colombian government has already designated over $30 million to confront emergencies caused by the current rainy season, with $18 million to attend to emergencies and disasters caused by the rains, and nearly $12 million for humanitarian assistance for the victims, such as machinery, fuel, and housing subsidies.
The rainy season has left 101 people dead and affected 328,322 people in 358 municipalities across the country.
The weather phenomenon La Niña will bring higher than average rain until March 2012, according to various environmental institutes. The effects will be felt December 2011 through March 2012 with higher than average rainfall being recorded mainly in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Andean region.