Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos vowed to earmark an additional $8.4 million for victims of floods and landslides caused by this year’s prolonged rainy season that threatens to flood large parts of the country’s territory.
The money will be added to the $178 million already reserved for aid.
“Nobody will be left without humanitarian help,” Santos told journalists in the northern city of Cartagena, after a conference he called Thursday afternoon to discuss a course of action.
Colombia’s meteorological institute has warned that the worst of this years rainy season, that started in February, is yet to come. So far, 85 Colombians have died because of floods or landslides caused by excessive rains.
A study released by the Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute revealed that as much as nine percent of Colombia’s land could be underwater by the end of this rainy season, El Espectador reported Thursday.
“The situation is very serious,” said Santos, adding that the water level of the Magdalena river “is the highest in all of history.”
Santos’s proposal comes three days after he said he may withdraw a request to add $3.16 billion to this year’s national budget to help the two million victims of last year’s rainy season. “It’s possible we’ll withdraw it because right now it’s not necessary,” Santos told reporters Monday. He gave no details on why the resources may not be needed nor where the money to pay for the damage would come from.