Two people have been killed by flooding in Colombia’s Pacific coastal department of Chocó after heavy rains caused at least two rivers to overflow, according to public officials. At least three others have suffered injuries and more than 700 families were affected, reported the Bogotá-based radio station RCN.
The town of Bagadó was hard hit, with some 60% of the town suffering damage and floodwaters reportedly reaching more than meter high in some sections of town. Other Chocó municipalities Cértegui, Lloró, and Nuquí also experienced significant flooding.
The National Unit for the Management of Disaster Risk (UNGRD) took action to coordinate the federal response. Personnel and machinery was deployed by the agency, particularly to help manage the overflow of the Atrato River. Many of those whose homes suffered damages are being given rent subsidies that will help provide alternative lodging for up to three months, according to the UNGRD.
Along with oversight from UNGRD head Carlos Iván Márquez Pérez, authorities in Chocó also established a local disaster risk management office, where all emergencies in the department will now be handled first hand.
The tragedy in Chocó marks another fatal disaster during the ongoing period of torrential rains that have been falling in Colombia this month. In the deadliest catastrophe to hit Colombia in decades, more than 300 were killed in the Putumayo capital of Mocoa in early April from mudslides after multiple rivers broker their banks. A rain-induced landslide also killed at least 16 people in Manizales this week.
The Atrato River and is tributaries both remained on alert for potential flooding late on Friday. Multiple other areas of the country near waterways have also received warnings in recent weeks.
Photo credit: UNGRD