Several government officials met on Thursday to determine the process of an emergency plan to confront severe drought in Colombia’s northern state of Magdalena, local media reported.
The governor of Magdalena, Eduardo Arteta, along with the director general of the National Unit for Disaster and Risk Management, Carlos Ivan Marquez Perez, led the meeting, which took place in the drought-stricken municipality of Santa Marta, according to a government press release.
Joining Arteta and Perez were 22 mayors of various cities in Magdalena, who met to organize an immediate response and early recovery plan to mitigate the impacts of high temperatures and drought as the region moves further into the dry season, Bogota’s Santa Fe Radio reported.
$5.3 million allocated to combat drought
The session determined that $5.3 million would be allocated throughout Magdalena for the implantation of the emergency plan, with over $1 million to be used in the short-term stage, according to the government of Magdalena.
Eleven municipalities have declared a state of emergency due to water shortages, forest fires, and coastal erosions that have left more than 10,000 families displaced or affected.
Fires have destroyed over 12,800 acres of land while drought has killed over 8,000 cattle.
Emergency plan includes more food, water shipments
The council determined a list of actions that will be carried out in the affected region, which included the activation and strengthening of a food supplement program by the Colombian Federation of Cattle Ranchers and the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, the press release reported.
The program will purchase food and allow subsidies of 40% to 50% for small and medium-sized framers in the region.
The council also determined that 10 tankers of water would be made available in the region as of Saturday to assist with the shortage of drinking water.
Testing and cleaning of pipes and fire engines will also occur in order to prepare for the high risk of fires in the region.
Some 3,000 “Humanitarian Assistance Kits” containing food and other supplies will be created for the most at-risk individuals by the government of Magdalena.
In late July, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos convened an emergency cabinet meeting to address the severe drought in the region, allocating $108 million to recuperate the zones hit hardest by drought.