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Santos to appoint reconstruction coordinator for flood-hit north

posted by Adriaan Alsema
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Colombia news - floods

Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos will appoint a government delegate to coordinate reconstruction efforts in the north of Colombia where floods have destroyed crops, houses, and infrastructure, the mayor of Cartagena said Tuesday.

According to mayor Judith Pinedo, Santos promised to apppoint the coordinator in a meeting with mayors and governors of the northern departments where last year’s heavy rains caused mass destruction and displacement.

In an interview with Caracol Radio, the mayor said that the national government will allocate $142.5 million to repair and rebuild homes and $26.4 million to reconstruct the infrastructure in the north.

In a press release published Monday after a meeting with governors and mayors, the president praised reconstruction plans proposed by the region, but insisted on transparency to avoid corruption.

According to Santos, the plans presented by the coastal region coincide with those of the national government and will allow the region to come out of the emergency stronger than it was before the floods.

The floods, caused by an exceedingly long rainy season in 2010, affected more than 2.2 million Colombians. Reconstruction will cost more than $6 billion, Bogota estimates.

Following two weeks of drought, the country’s meteorlogical institute warned that rains are expected to return and intensify over the next few weeks, which could cause more floods and landslides. According to Caracol Radio, the second leg of the disastrous rainy season will last until April.

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Adriaan Alsema is the founder and editor-in-chief of Colombia Reports. Born and raised a Dutchman, Adriaan has been living in Colombia since 2008.

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