Many towns and villages, especially along the country’s Pacific and Atlantic coastlines have been submerged. The catastrophic situation was caused due to the “La Niña” weather phenomenon and the Colombian government was quick to declare a “Social- Economic and Ecological Emergency”.
28 of Colombia’s 32 provinces have now been affected by the rains, with an estimated 200,000 hectares of farmland under water. As well as the damage and destruction to around 300,000 homes, the flooding has closed over 500 schools. Around 320,000 children have been affected, though some have been able to attend classes in temporary shelters.
In coordination with the Colombian Government and other NGO's, SOS Children immediately carried out a thorough needs assessment of the affected areas and began an Emergency Relief Programme. Food and sanitary products have been distributed to affected families and an SOS Care Centre has been set up to offer educational and psychological support to children.
So far, some 8,000 children from 2,100 families are curently receiving support in the districts of Bolívar, Magdalena, Sucre, Córdoba and Chocó.
At present there are five SOS Children’s Villages in Colombia, SOS Youth Homes at all locations, one SOS Nursery, one SOS School, two SOS Vocational Training Centres and SOS Social Centres at eight locations in Colombia.