The rainy season will leave Colombia by the end of May but the short summer won’t be long enough to dry out the land, rebuild roads and repair damages, claimed the director of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies of Colombia (IDEAM), Ricardo Lozano.
Lozano warned, in an interview with Caracol Radio, that the final month of the “La Niña” phenomenon will strike hard along the Atlantic Coast in tourist destinations such as Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.
A short summer in July and August is due to follow, which, while providing some relief for Colombians, will not present enough time for the construction of large scale works of adaptation for future floods and reconstruction efforts in areas destroyed so far by the rains.
“We are praying for a dry season of three or four months so that the soil can dry out and we can return to optimum humidity,” Lozano said.
On Monday night President Juan Manuel Santos spoke to the nation in a live television address, saying that since the beginning of the torrential rains this year, the Colombian state has spent approximately $250 million in humanitarian aid for victims of floods and landslides.
The rains, which have already claimed the lives of 93 people, are expected to return in September, October and November 2011, when Colombia’s usual rainy season begins again.
Chairman of the Board of the National Calamity Fund Jorge Londoño, said that construction works to prevent further winter disasters could cost nearly $9 million, but added that overall, the government currently lacks the resources to offer sound protection for people in the event of future disasters.