Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Millions of Colombians at Risk to Climate Change:  Minister

Colombia's Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Luis Gilberto Murillo speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bogota, Colombia April 24, 2017. (Credit: Reuters/Jaime Saldarriaga) Click to Enlarge.
Climate change has put nearly 12 million Colombians at risk from natural disasters like flooding and landslides, which could kill hundreds and cause serious infrastructure damage, the environment minister said on Tuesday.

Recent heavy rains have endangered residents in dozens of towns and cities, especially in neighborhoods of makeshift construction on deforested slopes of the Andes mountains.  Deadly avalanches and flooding in the cities of Mocoa and Manizales killed more than 330 people this month.

At-risk cities in the Andean country, which has a population of 49 million, are typically located along riverbeds or in mountainous areas, Environment Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo told Reuters in an interview.

Disaster prevention efforts include relocation of high-risk neighborhoods and construction of retaining walls to hold back landslides, Murillo said.

"Colombia is very vulnerable to phenomena of extreme climate variability and climate change," Murillo said, adding that around 500 municipalities are constantly in medium or high alert for flood and landslide risks.

"We have to move toward a culture of prevention and response to early warnings. Close to 12 million people are in high-risk conditions," said the minister, a former mining engineer.

Read more at Millions of Colombians at Risk to Climate Change:  Minister

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