Colombia – Early Warning Saved Lives in Tolima Floods, Says Head of Disaster Agency

Many lives were saved by early warnings after flash floods swept through communities along the Combeima river in the Tolima Department of central-western Colombia.

Flood damage in Ibagué , Colombia, September 2021. Photo: UNGRD

At least 40 houses were completely destroyed and a further 180 severely damaged across 13 neighbourhoods of Ibagué City. A total of 2,000 people from around 400 families were affected, according to Colombia’s National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD).

Flooding struck after the Combeima river which runs through the city broke its banks following heavy rainfall on 22 September 2021. As well as damage to homes and buildings, raging flood also damaged water and drainage infrastructure, 3 vehicle bridges and 3 pedestrian bridges.

Visiting affected communities on 26 September, Director of UNGRD, Eduardo José González, said it was thanks to the early warning system there was no loss of life or reports of anyone injured or missing.