Colombia’s rainy season death toll has risen to 60, while 74,000 families and more than 300,000 people have been affected by adverse weather condition in 27 departments around the Andean nation.
The director of prognostic services for Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), Maria Teresa Martinez said that heavy rains are predicted to continue, concentrated in the Caribbean and Andean regions of the country – particularly in the departments of Antioquia, Santander, Norte de Santander and Valle del Cauca, as well as the coffee growing region.
Martinez said that the “La Niña” phenomenon is in its formative stage and is expected to be in full force by the end of 2010, which means more heavy rains and potential flooding and landslides around the Andean nation.
The La Niña phenomenon typically brings more rain to the region and is formed by tropical waves along the African coast, which move from east to west along the equatorial belt, according to IDEAM.
According to Colombian Environment Minister Carlos Costa Posada, Colombia’s second rainy season of 2010 is predicted to be more intense than the first. Posada’s comments support predictions by IDEAM that rains will continue until December.
Costa told RCN that while rains are abating in some areas of the Colombia, they persist in the nation’s coastal regions.
“It is important highlight that historically the second rainy season is more intense than the first and the year of 2010 will be no exception; the situation will be accentuated by the presence of the La Niña phenomenon. This second rainy season will find high river levels, and as much as the intensity of the rains may drop, the waterways will not manage to lower enough to withstand the coming rains,” Costa said.
The environment minister said that human impact on the land, such as building concrete walls along river banks, worsens the situation, because such structures can not withstand torrential rains and flooding.