Colombia – Thousands Hit by Flash Floods in Bolivar

Flash floods have caused severe damage in the municipality of El Carmen de Bolivar in the department of Bolivar in northern Colombia. Local authorities have declared a state of disaster.

Flood damage in Carmen de Bolívar, Colombia. Photo: Colombia Civil Defence

Flooding struck on 12 April after hours of heavy rain. Local media said the downpour caused the overflow of the Alférez stream which runs through the municipality. As many as 30 neighbourhoods were affected. Estimates suggest around 70% of the municipality was under water.

Colombia Civil Defence reports that around 900 homes were damaged, affecting 3,274 people, with damage assessments ongoing. Local media reported the numbers affected as much higher, with as many as 4,000 families thought to have been severely affected.

After declaring a state of emergency, Mayor of El Carmen de Bolivar said that national and local agencies have started to deliver relief items to affected families in the neighbourhoods of La Tuna and Noviembre 12, among others.

In 2019 disaster authorities warned of increased flood risk in many El Carmen de Bolivar neighbourhoods due to severe land subsidence.

Flash Floods in Putumayo

Civil Defence also reported flash flooding in parts of the southern Putumayo Department from 11 to 13 April 2021. Flooding affected the municipalities of Valle Del Guamuez, Santiago and Orito. Over 150 homes were damaged and more than 500 people affected, mostly in Orito.

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