Severe drought in northern Colombia has left the area in a state of emergency with local delegates flying to Bogota on Monday to meet with the Colombian President and create a contingency plan, reported Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
Severe drought in the municipality of Riohacha, northern Colombia, has left a trail of destruction and has been declared a “public disaster” by its Mayor Rafael Ceballos Sierra, leading to the delegate scheduling a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota to decide what must be done.
Droughts have wracked eastern Colombia in 2014 but now the threat is spreading north. States such as La Guajira, where Riohacha is located, are under threat.
The states of La Guajira, Magdalena, Bolivar and Atlantico in the north, and Meta, Arauca and Meta in the east, are all either experiencing or at immediate risk of acute water shortages and forest fires. Smaller rivers throughout the risk zone are said to be at “critical” levels, including those that feed aqueducts to major urban centers throughout the region.
“Particularly in the north of the country, especially [the state of] La Guajira, the north of the Caribbean coast, the north of [the states of] Magdalena, Atlantico, Sucre, and likewise in the east … we have maintained dry times,” Cristian Euscategui, IDEAM’s chief meteorlogist, told Caracol Radio.
The intense and prolonged drought has left scores of animals dead and crops unable to grow.
Local people are also struggling with the lack of water. According to Maria Cristina Cardona, teacher and leader of remote indigenous community Campo Florido, her community is dying of thirst.
“I’ve gone to the mayor several times and nothing happens. They promised five orders of trucks carrying water, but they never came,” she told local media outlet, Guajira Hoy.
The Mayor said the decision to meet with President Santos came due to the “effects of the drought on rural, peasant and indigenous areas, which have also strongly been felt in my city,” and the need for emergency measures to be put into place.
- Por la fuerte sequía declaran calamidad pública en Riohacha (Caracol Radio)