Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will visit the fire-destroyed town of Riosucio, in the north-west Choco department Tuesday, to observe the reconstruction effort and to speak to locals who lost everything in the blaze.
Uribe’s visit comes as the inhabitants begin to clean up their charcoaled town, where some 100 families were made homeless when their wooden houses went up in flames last Saturday night.
The local mayor’s office, as well as police and the army, will be involved in the rebuilding Riosucio. Locals are also expected to lend a hand in the rebuilding. The reconstruction effort is hoped to only take a few weeks.
Mayor Jairo Garcia Rodriguez and his team met with representatives from Colombia’s national disaster prevention office Monday to discuss the rebuilding process. Building plans were drawn up so that the reconstruction can begin immediately.
“The idea is that the authorities will hand over the building materials this week,” said Garcia Rodriguez, adding that wood from the surrounding area will be used in the reconstruction.
Uribe on Sunday announced a reconstruction plan for the zone devastated by the blaze, which reportedly destroyed 46 homes. The head of state also said a bank will be created where materials and goods can be deposited for those who lost everything in the fire.
The mayor said that it is estimated that COP1.15 billion (approximately $600 thousand) is needed to rebuild the community.
Those left homeless by the disaster are housed in the abodes of family or friends. A Colombian air force plane transported six tons of aid to the Riosucio community, providing them with food, clothes, mattresses and toiletries. Local police and the Red Cross helped to distribute the aid.
Colombia’s Ministry of the Interior said Monday that the mayor’s office was negligent in not having a fire department to fight the blaze.