Assistance in Colombia after floods
18 October 2004
An MSF team is assisting with basic health care, water container distribution, water provision, hygienic supplies and referral services after floods occurred in Monteria, Colombia. The floods have driven up to 20,000 displaced people (IDPs) from their shanty towns in all sectors of the city. The people come from conflict rural areas, and are very poor. They have settled illlegally on low-lying stretches of land. The floods are because of the seasonal rains, which peak in October. However, this year's floods have been worse than usual, and are largely due to lack of drainage. The displaced people claim that local farming practices, combined with the chronic lack of drainage, continue to ensure the settlements are flooded and discourage illegal land invasion. After the floods, communities were moved to local schools and colleges by the local authorities after blocking roads and threatening to riot. Despite years confronting this same seasonal situation, the initial local government response was slow and without sufficient supplies. As assistance to the region now pours in, MSF remains concerned for large concentrations of displaced families housed in schools and other temporary shelters where basic needs are still not being met.