Doctors Without Borders Warns Of Colombia Crisis

By Dialogo
October 22, 2009

International aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned of a dire humanitarian situation emerging in southwestern Colombia. Turf wars over vital coca crops in the Ecuador border region of Narino have intensified and more than 12,400 people have been displaced there since early 2009, the Geneva-based organization said. "In most cases the displaced have received little or no help," an MSF statement said. Local authorities have been "completely overwhelmed" and MSF is often left as the lone carer, the statement said. Doctors Without Borders began work in Colombia in 1995, treating victims of the long-running conflict between leftist guerrillas and government forces. Dissident right-wing paramilitary squads, drug trafficking gangs and common criminals also contribute to the complex unrest that has plagued the South American nation. According to UN figures, Colombia ranks second for countries worst affected by internal displacement, with three million people fleeing their homes over the last three decades. War-wracked Sudan, with its six million displaced persons, tops the list. Neighboring Ecuador says it takes in the most refugees in Latin America, including hundreds of thousands of Colombians. Quito argues the influx contributes to crime in the country, including the trafficking of drugs and people.