The Ministry of Agriculture reported that heavy rains afflicting Colombia have flooded 2.5 million acres of farming land, leaving 500,000 acres unsuitable for crop production.
Extreme weather conditions have caused the deaths of 115,000 cattle and displaced 1.46 million animals from 60,500 plots of land. Heavy rains have also damaged agricultural infrastructure including greenhouses, cattle sheds, milking barns, stables, pens and pigsties, newspaper El Espectador reported.
The ministry report also stated that 98 major food transportation routes have been adversely affected, 42% of which are in critical condition.
This year’s prolonged rainy season, which intensified in the beginning of April, damaged “over 140,000 rural dwellings, of which 5,000 were completely destroyed, and the rest were partially damaged,” according to the report.
The ministry also warned of “the incidence of plagues and pests which can spread more easily” and the need to dispose of bovine carcasses.
According to Colombia’s Civil Defense, from April 2010 through April 2011, the rains have left 423 dead, 523 injured, 77 people missing and has affected over three million.
The government announced that $678 million is to be spent on emergency humanitarian aid, $3 billion on reconstruction work, and $10.7 billion on risk prevention and mitigation projects.
The ministry also published a prognosis warning that heavy rains will continue through the month of May throughout the country, and especially in the Andean, Pacific and Caribbean regions.