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Petro Announces National Emergency Over Humanitarian Crisis in Northern Colombia

President Gustavo Petro will govern from La Guajira in northern Colombia this week to attend a humanitarian crisis in the province.

The president also announces a national emergency that would give the government the administrative tools to deal with the food and water shortages, paramilitary violence and corruption that have wrecked La Guajira.

According to the non-governmental organization Nacion Wayuu, at least 34 children have died of causes related to starvation so far this year.

If a serious and responsible monitoring of how many children die every day from thirst and hunger in the Wayuu territories would be carried out, the figures would be catastrophic, we could say that more than 5 children would be dying daily from this scourge.

Nacion Wayuu

In May, a mother lost her two children of 7 and 8 years old when they drowned in a provisional well dug by people looking for drinking water.

The child deaths continue in La Guajira despite a 2017 Constitutional Court ruling that ordered the State to end the permanent violation of the most fundamental rights of the Wayuu people who have inhabited the region for many hundreds of years.

The food and water crisis in the region is partly due to systemic corruption, which has drained La Guajira of the financial resources needed to sustain the locals, particularly in the countryside.

The provincial capital, Riohacha, has been without mayor since May 1 after the three-month suspension of the city’s burgomaestre over irregularities in the construction of an aqueduct.

To further aggravate situation in La Guajira, the strategically located province has been the battlefield for a turf war between two rival paramilitary organizations, the AGC and Los Pachenca.

This turf war is believed to be the reason behind the four massacres that have occurred in La Guajira so far this year.

The state of emergency announced by Petro would seek to address the aforementioned issues as well as the arrival of El Niño, a recurring climate phenomenon that is expected to make the existing problems caused by drought even worse.

Source : Colombia Reports