2015 DS Mission to Colombia Examines Climate Displacement
As a result of extreme weather-related events associated with “La Niña” phenomenon, during 2010 and 2011, Colombia suffered the worst flooding and mudslides in recorded history. Around 3 million Colombians were affected by the extreme weather, mainly in the Atlantic, Pacific and Andean regions of the country. Economic losses were calculated at about US$6 billion. In early March 2015, Displacement Solutions visited Colombia to conduct a study on climate displacement as a result of the 2010-2011 rains. DS is currently preparing a detailed report on this case, with a major focus on the climate displacement and relocation of approximately 3,000 residents of the municipality of Gramalote. On 16-17 December 2010, the extreme rain that had affected this North-East mountain range triggered a mudslide that resulted in a slow but major mass movement process, which destroyed the entire town. Local authorities in Gramalote were able to evacuate the population in time, so no one died as a result of the disaster. Since then, people from Gramalote have been relocated to nearby municipalities and are still waiting to be resettled in a new location. The Colombian government has been and remains very committed to building a new town of Gramalote, despite the delays and inefficiencies seen during the last four years. During our visit to Colombia, DS travelled to Gramalote and interviewed climate displaced persons, as well as local, regional and national authorities involved in the new settlement. Displacement Solutions will apply the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement to assess the responses of the Colombian government to the rights of the climate displaced community from Gramalote.