Ongoing heavy rains in northern Colombia have caused the Magdalena river to burst its banks and left thousands of Colombians affected by flooding and adverse weather in the Magdalena, Bolivar, Cordoba, and Atlantico departments.
Crepad, the region’s disaster authority, has declared a red alert for communities living along the Magdalena River, as well as for communities living near the swamps that feed the river itself.
Crepad coordinator Lourdes Perez said that an estimated 10,000 people have been affected by adverse weather conditions so far this year in the Magdalena department. The organization has distributed humanitarian aid in the form of food, clothing, shoes, toiletries and kitchen utensils.
Jaime Caballero, the mayor of Pueblo Viejo, a municipality in the Magdalena department, said that flooding in the area has led to an increase in respiratory illnesses and skin conditions, particularly in infants.
In Santa Marta, the capital of the Magdalena department, heavy downpours led to flooding, causing five houses to collapse and injuring three people. A landslide caused by the rains damaged several other houses in the Colombian port.
According to Crepad coordinator Edgar Larios Redondo, 33,008 families from eighteen municipalities in the Bolivar department have been affected by this year’s rainy season. To date 13,000 food packages have been provided to those affected.
In the Atlantico department 122 families were evacuated from the Repelon municipality Wednesday after rising water levels flooded their homes. Repelon Mayor Cesar Saenz has requested from social welfare agency Bienestar Familiar and the Atlantico government.
Three died in the Cordoba department over the weekend. A man and a woman died when the SUV they were driving was washed away by a flood in the vicinity of Lake Zonar. Another man died when a wall collapsed on him in his home in Bujalance.
Adverse weather conditions have also lead to road closures in the department.