Colombia’s Ministry of Interior has ordered local governments in the southwest and center of the country to initiate emergency plans to deal with the increasing dangers associated with recent heavy rains, local media reported Thursday.
Carlos Ivan Marquez, the director of Colombia’s Risk Management branch of the Ministry of Interior, reportedly told officials in the cities of Palmira – located in the southwestern Valle de Cauca state – and Bucaramanga – located in the central Santander state – to “activate emergency and contingency plans, including early warning systems and the activation of all relief agencies to respond quickly and urgently” reported Caracol news.
The announcement comes after a combined seven people from the two cities reportedly lost their lives in landslides induced by torrential rains characteristic of this year’s “rainy season.” An additional three people have been reported missing, potentially indicating that the death toll could rise. Caracol news added that between 30 and 40 families have been left homeless by recent rains.
Deadly landslides are all too common in Colombia, a country littered with vast swaths of mountains and high annual rainfall.