International Community Sends $10.5 Million in Aid to Colombia for Rains
By Dialogo December 20, 2010
Colombia has received a total of 10.5 million dollars in donations from the international community following the appeal made by President Juan Manuel Santos in view of the serious emergency the country is facing as a result of heavy rains, the government announced Thursday.
“According to the figures presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the international community has pledged 10.5 million dollars. More than twenty-one countries and donors have come forward,” said Diego Andrés Molano, director of the Presidential Agency for Social Action.
The official expressed the government’s gratitude for “this support, this willingness and solidarity with Colombia,” as Molano was quoted saying in an official press release.
The government has put the cost of the emergency at around five billion dollars.
The dramatic situation has led Santos to declare a thirty-day social and economic state of emergency, provided for in the Constitution and enabling him to issue decrees with the force of law in order to take immediate action with a view toward alleviating the crisis.
According to the most recent official figures, made public on Thursday, the heavy rains have led to 279 deaths this year and affected 2.1 million people.
In addition, 62 people are missing, 271 have been injured, 3,001 homes have been destroyed, and 303,215 have been damaged.
The rains have affected 28 of the country’s 32 departments, especially those of Bolívar, Magdalena, Atlántico, and Guajira, all in the north.
Santos said Thursday that nearly a million hectares under cultivation have been affected by the intense precipitation.
The rains, the heaviest in thirty years, are due to the La Niña phenomenon, according to meteorological experts.