Colombia: heavy rains kill 271 in November

At least 271 people have died since early November in Colombia due to the rainy season, the heaviest in four decades and which could last until March, according to an official report published on Thursday.

Rainfall has increased over the past three weeks, affecting 745,000 people in the country’s 32 departments, according to the National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD).

The rains are associated with the cyclic phenomenon of La Niña, which leads to a cooling of the Pacific Ocean. Global warming could also increase the phenomenon and make it more deadly, according to scientists.

Colombia: heavy rains kill 271 in November

The local press has been wondering for days about this particularly rainy winter: « A winter that overflows », headlined the daily El Espectador on Thursday, pointing the finger at global warming, while other media highlight the deforestation which multiplies the impact of floods.

In addition to the 271 deaths recorded, including two this past weekend in Bogota, 348 people were injured, 6,755 houses were destroyed, as well as hundreds of roads, bridges and drains.

The winter season in Colombia normally lasts until December, but there is a « probability of more than 58% » that it will extend into February and March, UNGRD director Javier Pava warned during a press conference.

Colombia: heavy rains kill 271 in November

The government of President Gustavo Petro declared a state of « national catastrophe » earlier this month to mobilize more public resources to deal with the emergency.

As part of this measure, it will provide subsidies to single mothers and hopes to guarantee food for affected families.

The rains have also ruined crops, which could lead to a further rise in food prices, the UNGRD warned.

This, while Colombia is facing the highest inflation for two decades (11.4% per year) and an unprecedented devaluation of its currency, the Colombian peso, against the dollar.

Colombia: heavy rains kill 271 in November


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