Heavy rainfall across Colombia forebodes a torrential Easter accumulating to the already historical levels of precipitation recorded during the month of March by the national meteorological agency IDEAM. Among the hardest-hit regions in the country are the departments of Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, and Santander, as rivers break their banks and mudslides tear through roads and villages. Two of the country’s most populated cities – Cali and Medellín – have also been impacted by widespread flooding on streets and damaged homes.
Bogotá is also bearing the brunt of thunderstorms as humid tropical fronts cross the Eastern Andes from the Amazon and Orinoco Basins. The storms in the Colombian capital have been accompanied by strong winds and cold temperatures. The invierno (winter), according to the Risk and Disaster Management Unit (UNGRD), has claimed 45 lives, injured several dozen people and affected more than 3,000 families. “We are going through a winter of impact,” claimed the Mayor of Cali Jorge Iván Ospina after two local rivers that flow through the city, Río Cali and Río Cañaveralejo, swept away pedestrian bridges and vulnerable housing in the district of Siloé.
Heavier than usual seasonal rain along Colombia’s Pacific coast is being attributed to La Niña. The weather system has also lashed neighboring country Ecuador.
Bucaramanga, the departmental capital of Santander, as well as the three largest cities in the coffee-growing departments – Armenia, Pereira and Manizales – have also been affected by the storms that have downed trees and powerlines.