Authorities to investigate drought-driven devastation in east Colombia

Posted on Mar 25 2014 - 10:15pm by Rico
(Photo: Cortesía Gobernación de Casanare)

Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office announced on Tuesday that it will begin an investigation into damage to underground water sources in drought-ridden eastern plains of the country.

The eastern Casanare state has been without rain since last December, which has caused the deaths of thousands of animals and highlighted some of the environmental concerns that Colombia is currently facing.

The effects of climate change caused by the over-exploitation of land and water misuse has prompted the Prosecutor General’s Office to announce that “an intense forward action plan is necessary to address these events.”

Earlier Tuesday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Twitter that the National Council for Disaster Management would begin actions to alleviate the effects of the drought in Casanare.

MORE: Santos declares measures against devastating east Colombia drought

This afternoon’s announcement from the Inspector General’s Office is the latest in the government’s response to the Casanare drought. On Monday, the office revealed they review local authorities in eastern Colombia accused of privileging oil interests over the growing environmental crisis.

“There is no doubt that the oil industry has the most aggressive effect on the environment, and that what is happening in Casanare is a sum of different factors associated with man and climate change.”

MORE: Authorities to investigate handling of environmental crisis in eastern Colombia

The Inspector General’s Office says it will look into what actions the local authorities have taken to address the state’s environmental concerns, according to national media. The oversight body will examine why the state prioritized the expedition of oil exploration permits, even in the midst of the crippling drought.

“There is no doubt that the oil industry has the most aggressive effect on the environment, and that what is happening in Casanare is a sum of different factors associated with man and climate change,” said Oscar Amaya, the Inspector General’s chief prosecutor for environmental issues, in an interview with Caracol Radio. “Because of this we want to determine if there were any omissions made by public officials when developing strategies to curb [oil exploration's] negative impacts on the environment.”

Both of these impending investigations will impact all oil companies operating in the area, as the investigations will handle two theories: one regarding global warming and one regarding the extraction of water sources.

From today, three teams of experts comprised of cartographers, environmentalists, an engineer, a cameraman, an anthropologist and a geologist, among others, will move to the area of Casanare to begin their investigations.

Casanare

Sources

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