COLOMBIA - EARTHQUAKE
OCHA - GENEVA SITUATION REPORT NO. 6
5 FEBRUARY 1999
1. About 180,000 people are still in need of immediate relief assistance (the
authorities are carrying out a census of the people affected by the earthquake, to know
the exact dimensions of the tragedy and the existing requirements). Damage to public
services is severe. Water lines are being repaired (in Armenia about 70% are already in
operation, while water supply systems in Calarca and Barcelona are not yet in operation).
Reconstruction of water supply and sewage systems in the area will cost about USD50
2. Removal of rubble and debris will take a considerable amount of time because of
the magnitude of the task at hand, which requires specialized equipment.
3. The principal challenge in the next few months is related to reconstruction of
housing in the Departments of Quindio, Risaralda, Tolina, Caldas and Valle del Caulca. It
is estimated that in total approximately 35,000 homes (of which some 20,000 in Armenia
only) have to be rebuilt or repaired.
4. Schools and hospitals also suffered a considerable amount of damage. In Armenia,
it is calculated that approximately 35 per cent of the public schools have been destroyed.
Several hospitals must be totally or partially demolished.
5. Many emergency needs still remain unmet, especially those related to the food
requirements of about 180.000 persons and housing for about 35,000 families. Another
priority is the reconstruction of infrastructure (public services, roads, communications).
6. An Economic Emergency has been declared. Reconstruction of the disaster area has
been incorporated as an additional chapter of the National Development Plan.
7. Local Emergency Committees have been strengthened in Pereira and Armenia, and
local funds have been created for reconstruction.
8. A National Fund has been created for the reconstruction of the coffee-growing
region headed by Luis Carlos Villegas (Executive Co-ordinator of the Presidency) and
composed of various businessmen and high-ranking public officials. The Fund will be able
to use funds that are transferred by way of agreements with other public and private
9. Particular attention is being given to the involvement of the population in managing,
under the leadership of the Local Emergency Committees, the emergency and reconstruction
phases. In small municipalities, there has been a notable leadership by the Mayors. The
National Disaster Prevention and Response Institute has formed an operating team together
with the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare and the Social Solidarity Network.
10. The latest data on contributions, as reported to OCHA, can be accessed by
clicking on FINANCIAL TRACKING on top of this page.
11. The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team continues
its mission in Colombia, carrying out assessment missions to disaster areas and assisting
the UN-Disaster ManagementTeam (UN-DMT) in coordination activities.
12. The United Nations Resident Coordinator participated in a national forum in the
city of Armenia that dealt with the reconstruction needs of the region. He has
furthermore set up a technical team of five local experts in disaster management.
This team is advising the National Institute for Disaster Prevention and Response,
the Local Emergency Committees, the Ministry of the Interior, the Vice-Ministry of Housing
of the Ministry of Social-Economic, the National Planning Department and the Seismic Risks
Commission. A coordination office has been established in the city of Pereira.
13. WFP - Started a food-for-work programme, value of approximately USD 200,000.
WFP has also provided 25,000 individual rations for the next 20 days; and
10,000 children will receive enriched biscuits with milk also during 20 days.
14. WFP will launch an emergency programme to assist 115,000 homeless for a period of six
months. This programme that aims to maintain and enhance the nutritional status of the
most vulnerable victims of the earthquake, such as children, pregnant women and nursing
mothers, amounts to USD 2.98 million.
15. UNICEF - Priority has been given to the psycho-affective/social rehabilitation of
traumatized children, a similar methodology is being used for these children as the one
used in Central America after Hurricane Mitch. UNICEF has also contributed to the
establishment of 18 latrines (and 22 more are in process of installation). About 1, 000
survival family kits are being obtained, that include tents, kitchen utensils. To
facilitate the students' return to school, UNICEF has supplied school emergency kits for
16. PAHO/WHO is providing support to the reestablishment of the health services and
to emergency vaccination.
17. FAO - Through its local projects in the disaster area, and in cooperation with
the Federation of Coffee Growers, they have supported producers and peasants in the
recovery of their installations.
18. UNHCR and HABITAT are providing the services of experts in the area of displaced
population. HABITAT is furthermore cooperating with the authorities with regard to
urban reconstruction in all of the affected municipalities.
19. IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) - An emergency loan for USD 20 million has
been approved, and IDB is working with the government to reorient towards reconstruction
already existing credits to the approximate amount of USD 120 million.
20. CAF (Corporacion Andina de Fomento) - CAF has granted initially USD 50,000 to
attend immediate emergency requirements. A CAF mission is being scheduled to arrive in the
country, whose primary task will be that of formulating the principal goals in the
reconstruction of the physical and social infrastructure of the region.
21. World Bank - On 2 February, a mission arrived in the country. Four important
loans for a total of USD 120 million, will be reallocated.
22. OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions for the immediate
relief needs. 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
23. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as
indicated below, of relief missions, pledges or contributions and their corresponding
values by item.
24. This Situation Report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also
available on the OCHA Internet Website at:http:// www.reliefweb.int.
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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