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500 000 people at risk of flooding after La Mojana dam overflows, Colombia

500-000-people-at-risk-of-flooding-after-la-mojana-dam-overflows-colombia

The La Mojana dam in southwestern Colombia overflowed on August 27, 2021, due to high water levels of the Cauca River caused by atypically heavy rains during the month.

The resulting floods affected more than 180 000 people in 39 municipalities across Antioquia, Bolívar, Córdoba, and Sucre departments.

Numerous homes were damaged as well as thousands of hectares of crops. In addition, an unknown number of cattle was lost and an estimated 300 000 more need to be relocated.1

The worst affected are residents of the municipalities of Nechi, Antioquia, and San Jacinto del Cauca, Bolivar.

Departmental entities have declared the red alert given the magnitude of the event and at least 500 000 people living in La Mojana are at risk of future flooding.

On September 13, humanitarian organizations carried out a first Multi-Sector Initial Rapid Assessment. Access to food, shelter, non-food items, WASH, and healthcare needs are reported.

National authorities are discussing with UN OCHA possibilities of mobilizing international support.

La Mojana, made up of four departments, experienced critical moments in 2010 when the La Niña phenomenon left more than 200 000 people affected and 20 000 homes flooded.2

"Today, more than a decade later, due to the floods that occurred in 2010, the fauna and flora have not fully recovered," said Héctor Espinosa, the governor of Sucre.

"This can be aggravated if one takes into account that for this year there is a 70% probability that it will repeat between September and October, which generates enormous concern about the approach of the La Niña phenomenon, as reported by Ideam itself."

References:

1 Colombia – Floods (DG ECHO, ACAPS, local media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 15 September 2021) – ReliefWeb

2 Emergency in La Mojana after the break of the dam due to the rising of the Cauca River – In-24

Featured image credit: UNGRD

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