BOGOTA – More than 29,100 people have been forced from their homes by the latest round of torrential rains blamed for 93 lives so far this year, the Colombian Red Cross said Saturday.
“The situation remains difficult” as rain continues to fall in 24 of Colombia’s 32 provinces, CRC official Cesar Urueña said.
Worst affected are people living in the basins of Colombia’s two most important rivers: the Magdalena and the Cauca, Urueña said by telephone from the field.
In La Dorada, a town on the Magdalena River in the western province of Caldas, 4,200 families have fled rising floodwaters, he said.
Another 1,700 families were evacuated in Puerto Boyaca, a town on the northern stretch of the Magdalena.
More than a thousand residents of three towns in the northwestern province of Antioquia – Puerto Berrio, Puerto Nare and Puerto Triunfo – were forced to abandon their homes when the level of the Magdalena rose after dam operators began releasing water from a rain-swollen reservoir near the southwestern city of Neiva.
Flooding and mudslides have also blocked portions of 26 provincial and national highways, Urueña said, warning of likely problems as people begin to return from Easter-week vacations.
“We have had more than a year of daily rains,” the CRC official said, referring to La Niña-fueled record precipitation that has left 415 dead and 489 others injured since the spring of 2010.