BOGOTA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it will assist 31,000 people affected by the worst rainy season recorded in recent decades. Heavy rain has affected more than half of the territory and 28 of the 32 departments of the country.
“As a result of La Niña Phenomenon rains are expected to continue well into the first trimester of 2011,” said WFP Representative, Praveen Agrawal. “Some 150,000 hectares of crops and a high number of livestock have been lost, so those affected by this disaster will need food assistance until they recover, especially women and children,” said Agrawal.
A US$500,000 emergency operation was approved by WFP after the government declared a state of national calamity. WFP will distribute individual 40-day emergency food rations among hard-to-reach dispersed and isolated communities in the departments of Arauca, Chocó, Cauca, Cordoba, Nariño and Norte de Santander. These efforts are in addition to WFP's initial response, through its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation that is already meeting the food needs of large numbers of internally displaced people in the affected states.
WFP, the Government of Colombia and other UN Agencies are carrying out food security assessments to estimate how many more people will need food assistance and for how long in the affected departments.