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Latino Daily News

Monday January 3, 2011

UN:  Dozens of Towns in Colombia Still Remain Underwater, Millions Remain Displaced

The United Nations refugee agency is boosting its efforts to provide emergency assistance to thousands of Colombians affected by recent flooding that has been called the worst natural catastrophe in the country’s history by its leader.

According to Government estimates, more than two million people have been affected by the floods, which resulted from the unusually heavy rainfall that has beset the South American nation since the middle of the year.  The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which runs an operation to assist more than three million people displaced by violence in Colombia, began distributing emergency aid in affected areas two weeks ago.

The agency noted that dozens of town in the hard-hit north of the country remain under water. Thousands of people are living in shelters, and others have moved to less affected areas.  Mattresses, hammocks, mosquito nets, blankets, as well as shelter materials are being delivered to the areas most affected, which include the departments of Atlantico, Bolivar, Cordoba and La Guajira in the north; Santander and Norte de Santander in the East; and Antioquia and Choco in the west.

A three-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) arrived in Colombia on Tuesday to support the ongoing response to the floods, including with information management tasks and the strengthening of humanitarian partners, both national and international.

Earlier this month $6 million was allocated for the post-flood effort from the local UN emergency response fund.