Colombia – Floods and Landslides Affect 5,000 in Meta Department, Airport Flooded in Villavicencio

Officials in the department of Meta, Colombia, report at least 5,000 people have been affected by recent heavy rainfall caused flooding and landslides including in areas of the department capital, Villavicencio where the airport runway and terminal was flooded.

Flood rescue in Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia, May 2022. Photo: Alcaldía de Villavicencio

The government of Meta reported heavy rain has impacted 25 municipalities in recent days, causing damage, flooding and landslides. A total of 5,000 people have been affected and 4,000 hectares of crops, around 30 bridges and 94 roads damaged.

Dozens of landslides were reported in the municipalities of Mesetas and San Juan de Arama. At least 16 villages were flooded across the municipalities of Cubarral, El Castillo and El Dorado.

Among the worst affected are communities living close to the Guatiquía River in the departmental capital Villavicencio. Officials said a period of heavy rain caused levels of the river to rise which in turn broke through an embankment or dam on the left bank of the river. At least 1,200 people were affected and around 280 people evacuated or rescued from their homes. Evacuation centres were set up to house those displaced. Officials added that the nearby Guayuriba river also overflowed, affecting around 50 families.

Operations at the Vanguardia Airport in Villavicencio were suspended due to the flooding. Aeronáutica Civil de Colombia said “Due to the heavy rains that have been recorded in the last hours, added to the overflow of the Guatiquía River in Villavicencio, Meta, the Vanguardia Airport suffered flooding in the passenger terminal and on the runway.”

See more about flooding and airports here.

The flooded runway of Vanguardia Airport, Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia May 2022. Photo: Aeronáutica Civil de Colombia
Flood rescues in Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia, May 2022. Photo: Alcaldía de Villavicencio