In Colombia, crisis deepens for Africans in flooded areas

COLOMBIA — The incessant rains of the harsh winter in Colombia, are affecting the department of Chocó in a disastrous manner. Chocó is a department in Colombia with a population that is over 90 percent African.

Riosucio Township is one of the most affected areas in Chocó. More than 1,000 are reported injured and more than 250 killed, including a child who drowned after falling from his bed as the waters flooded his home.

The governor's office says a preliminary figure of 24,300 people have been affected across the country, especially in the municipalities of Itsmina, Ríosucio, Condoto, Medio Sanjuan, Novita and Litoral del Sanjuan, which are near or along rivers San Juan, Baudo and Tamana.

Eighty percent of the municipalities in Chocó are affected by days of nonstop rain. The floods have reached the rooftops. The villagers in the most critical situations had to be placed in shelters, and those shelters are already flooding.

This is expected to cause masses of displaced Africans to seek shelter in the cities, which do not have the infrastructure to accept people in distress. This would bring more complications to the situation because victims would be pushed into outlying areas where development rates are lower. The absence of relevant public policies for the treatment of these issues generates a further deterioration in the quality of life of those affected.

For its part, the mobilization of the people in favor of structural solutions is low. Campaigns have been launched to collect funds and humanitarian aid, both in Chocó and in other cities. Unfortunately, the aid is not arriving in a timely manner since the winter also affects the access roads to the department, another serious problem in the region.

Because of the lack of access roads in good condition, a looming food crisis also nears, as the trucks are immobilized due to the constant threat of mudslides.

The All-African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) is calling on people to aid in this crisis by making monetary donations, which will aid in the purchase of supplies and non-perishable foods as well as other resources here in Colombia.

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