Hot Off The Press 

Cincinnati, Ohio -- January 30, 1999

31 JANUARY 1999


1.  According to data (as of 29 January 1999) received from the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bogota, the number of dead has risen to 950, and the number of injured has increased to nearly 4,000.

2. Damage caused to housing:

- Department of Quindio: up to 95 per cent in some sections of the city of Armenia;   up to 80 per cent in the municipalities of Barcelona, Calarca and la Tebaida.

-   Department of Risaralda:  50 per cent in the centre of the city of Pereira.

-  Department of Valle del Cauca:  between 10 and 20 per cent in the Municipalities of Alcal=E1, Caicedonia, Ulloa.

-  Department of Tolima: 15 per cent in the Municipality of Cajamarca.

National response

3. Mr. Juan Carlos Villegas, a prominent national figure, has been appointed by the President of Colombia as Executive Coordinator of the Presidency for emergency and reconstruction actions in the affected areas. The President has further set up a centre of operations in Armenia, and it will remain in operation as long as the emergency so requires.

4. The disaster area has been placed under military control, due to serious problems with looting in the city of Armenia.

5. The President has announced that all relief assistance will be audited by an independent body.

International response

6. An up-dated report on contributions will be part of the next situation report.

7. The UNDAC team have met with the UN Disaster Management Team/DMT (UNDP, FAO, PAHO/WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP) to coordinate activities. An expert from HABITAT will join the mission.

8. IAPSO (the United Nations Inter-Agency Procurement Services Office) has offered its services in the acquisition of equipment such as vehicles, generators, water tanks, and others.

9.  The UN DMT has made the decision to open a coordination office in Pereira in order to coordinate UN system response in the area.

10. WFP will provide 50,000 food rations for the next 15 days (total cost approx. USD 200,000) which will be distributed proportionately among the affected families. 10,000 rations of milk and cookies will be provided to children in the psychological trauma program supported by UNICEF. Resources have been approved for a rehabilitation program under the 'food for work' modality.  The work will consist mainly of removal of debris, clearing of roads and landslides.  A four-person team will arrive to support this project.

11. UNICEF will support 150 volunteers of the Colombian Movement of Children for Peace, who are working to help affected children cope with trauma.  This effort will be complemented with the school materials provided jointly with the Ministry of Education.   Portable latrines will be provided, including maintenance services, Survival kits have also been provided to families affected by the tragedy.=

12. FAO has its field team working in the area, who participate in inter-agency efforts in support of community relocation.

13. PAHO/WHO:  Five members are in the field carrying out work in support services, epidemiological surveillance and environmental sanitation.

14. Personnel from UNDP projects are supporting various national entities in the disaster area in the technical evaluation of damage to the infrastructure, and in the definition of main points to strengthen local institutions and define areas of work for the formulation of plans and programs for reconstruction.

15. UNDP is coordinating its work with international financial institutions and donor governments, especially in long-term strategies.

16. A World Bank mission will arrive in Bogot=E1 on Monday, 1 February.


17.  OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions for the immediate relief needs detailed above. Funds channelled through OCHA will be spent in coordination with the relevant organizations of the UN system and OCHA will provide written confirmation of their use. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.1 at the UBS AG, PO Box 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: OCHA - Colombia - Earthquake

18.  For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated blow, of relief missions, pledges or contributions and their corresponding values by item.

19.  This Situation Report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at:

Telephone number: + 41-22-917-1234
In case of emergency only: + 41 22 917 2010
Desk Officers: Mr. Erik Haegglund, direct tel: + 41-22-917-3299
  and Mr. Carlos Monteiro-Pereira, direct tel: +41-22-917-1383
Contact person for the media:  Ms.  Elena Ponomareva, direct
Telex 41 42 42 ocha ch
Fax: + 41 22 917 0023
E-mail: [email protected]

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