Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos passed an act that promises to improve natural disaster prevention and response Tuesday.
“This Disaster Risk Management Act will allow us to have an articulated and organized policy to work on reducing risk in this country,” said Santos.
The Disaster Risk Management Act asks governors and mayors to help in identifying areas potentially susceptible to extreme weather and natural disasters.
The enactment of the act also included the formation of the National Council for Risk Management, a group dedicated to creating effective disaster management policies. Three new national committees will focus on risk awareness, risk reduction and disaster management.
Colombia’s head of state stressed his government’s responsibility in preventing disasters.
“We must prepare ourselves, we must work to determine where the greatest risks of disaster are and focus on prevention. We know it’s not an easy task and requires time, logistical capacity and specialized people to help us be prepared,” said Santos.
A particularly bad rainy season in 2011 left 440,000 homes destroyed by flooding and landslides. A World Bank report released Tuesday called Colombia’s flood risk management “exemplary” despite regional Colombian governments being criticized several times in recent months for failing to prepare for the current rainy season, which has left many homeless.