Colombia Reports

Alejandro Ordoñez (Photo: Confidencial Colombia)

Colombia’s Inspector General asked the government to put the country in a state of emergency as the El Niño weather phenomenon continues to cause water shortages.

The Inspector General’s Office is considering the possibility of declaring the country in a state of Economic, Social or Ecological Emergency, or Public Adversity as extreme droughts that threaten to persist until June, are continuing to put large parts of Colombia under massive strain.

The aim of the petition is to kick start the State in to responding adequately to the climactic affects caused by El Niño, and in turn lessen the consequences that communities and the environment might suffer.

Gabriel Vallejo, minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, was called upon by the Inspector General’s Office to initiate the response process, which is ultimately in the hands of president Juan Manuel Santos.

“The request made by the Inspector General Office’s delegate for Agricultural and Environmental Affairs seeks to address the facts related to the climate that currently threaten and are disrupting the ecological, economic and social order of the country, as well as improving the reaction capacity of the State regarding the serious environmental damage caused by the drought,” read the request.

“This authoritative body consider that the capacity of the administration, when faced with unforeseen and unpreventable situations of this nature, can overcome the magnitude [of the problem]… and analyze the feasibility of exceptional measures needed to avert the potential interference already described,” the petition continued.

The severe drought affecting swathes of the country is increasingly taking a toll on social and economic situations as cultivation is suffering and wide spread forest fires force evacuation. Nine of Colombia’s 32 provinces are already in a state of emergency.

El Niño has already reached the category of “strong phenomenon” in Colombia, the most threatening level on IDEAM’s scale. When the dry months of January and February come and the few scattered showers cease, the current conditions of water scarcity will become amplified even further.

El Niño in Colombia: what’s happening and what will happen

Provinces affected include Huila and Tolima in the central-southwest of the country, and the central-northwestern province of Caldas.

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Colombia Reports