A local mayor in the northern Colombian department of Antioquia asks the national government and aid organizations to help deal with some 5,000 displaced people who have flooded into the town, newspaper El Colombiano reported Friday.
Nicholas Heron, mayor of the town of Anori, said that the town’s budget to aid the displaced people is just over $5,000, which has already been exceeded.
“We have to think about asking for international help because we have outgrown the ability to care for the people arriving to this town. We must ensure the stability of all who come,” local Government Secretary Alexander Restrepo told the newspaper.
The Disaster Prevention and Aid Office has met the request for humanitarian aid with 400 packages of food, 400 blankets, 315 kitchen kits and a large number of mattresses.
“We are waiting for the delivery of more aid, but we are worried because food is becoming scarce,” Restrepo told El Colombiano.
In regard to public order, Restrepo told the newspaper that “everyone is calm due to the presence of the police and the army.”
Farmers from the countryside have been flooding into the town since Monday, which authorities attribute to forced displacement by the guerilla organization FARC‘s 36th Front. The displaced have issued three requests for the government to meet before they return to their homes, including ceasing aerial spraying of illicit crops, which the government has denied on the grounds that they reflect FARC interests.
Antioquia Government Secretary Julian Andres Rendon told El Colombiano that the situation is under control, and asked the displaced farmers to understand that the demands are not negotiable, while noting that the army and police are there to provide security and guarantee their return to their villages.