North Colombia floods affect thousands

The north Colombian department of Cordoba is on high alert after the Sinu River burst its banks leaving much of the regional capital Monteria under water, while many parts of the Andean nation struggle to deal with the continuing rain.

The Urra Dam has overflowed and six bridges collapsed in the towns of Palmira, Tuis Tuis, Guamiral, Venezuela, Los Cocos, Las Mujeres and Jui, reports W Radio.

Authorities are finalizing plans to evacuate ten municipalities in the region and have already helped 1,900 families flee their homes in Cerete and Sierra Alta.

Twenty-five municipalities in Cordoba are affected, and the towns of Cerete, San Pelayo, Lorica and San Bernardo del Viento are particularly vulnerable. Authorities fear that the situation could worsen in the coming hours.

Colombian Transport Minister German Cardona is currently analyzing the situation with officials in Cordoba and an action plan is expected to be announced following the meeting.

Cardona said earlier that a mid-term plan would be to build a second hydroelectric dam, which has been called the “Sine River Project,” or “Urra 2.”

The minister said that he had proposed the plan to President Juan Manuel Santos.

Bolivar department

On Thursday the Bolivar village of Higueretal and the municipality of San Cristobal were inundated after the Canal de Dique overflowed. Three thousand families were forced to leave their homes in Soplaviento, and another 2,000 were evacuated from the town of Arenal.

Seventy thousand families are said to be affected by the flooding in Bolivar department.

Sucre department

In Sucre 500 families will be moved from their homes this afternoon in Sincelejo and neighboring towns due to flooding.

Thirty-three thousand families have been affected in the department of Sucre.

Atlantico department

The deadline for workers to plug the hole in the quickly draining Canal de Dique has been set for December 24.

So far 1,200 cubic meters of water have gushed from the canal, flooding an area of 400 square kilometers. Sixteen hundred cubic meters of water is flowing from the hole every second, which represents about 8% of the flow of the Magdalena River.

A 70-ton crane arrived in the port of Santa Marta to help with the emergency. The progress of the 200-man operation can be followed here.

Magdalena department

The strong current of the Magdalena River has caused the collapse of two electricity poles, which has cut the power in the municipalities of Concord, Pedraza and Cerro de San Antonio.

“We are with our technicians in the area, but we have been unsuccessful efforts to normailize the service,” said the head of Electricaribe Magdalena, Julio Bonilla Rodelo.

In the banana growing region 11,000 hectares of banana crops have been flooded as rivers throughout the area overflowed.

The Colombian branch of the Red Cross reported Thursday that more than 2 million people have been affected by this year’s catastrophic rainy season.

Colombia’s roads authority Invias urged the government to allocate COP5 billion ($2.6 million) to fix damage caused to the country’s road network.

At the moment, 180 roads are damaged, of which ten are permanently closed. The departments most affected are Caldas, Risaralda, Atlantico, Santander, and Norte de Santander.

The department of Caldas reports that 80% of its roads affected by heavy rains with three municipalities and two villages inaccessible, the governor of the department said.

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