Colombia: aid for 1,500 displaced people in El Mango, Cauca
13-07-2012 News Release 12/146
Geneva / Bogotá (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is distributing humanitarian aid to 1,500 people forced to flee their homes because of clashes in recent days in the El Mango area of Argelia municipality, in the south of the department of Cauca.
"We are worried about the psychological impact on the population," said Benno Kocher, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Cali, "and about the large number of people who will be unable to return once the situation calms down, because many of their homes were destroyed in the fighting."
According to ICRC staff who made an assessment of civilian buildings in the wake of the clashes, 74 houses had been severely damaged and made uninhabitable. Many others had suffered structural damage but could be repaired. The school and two community halls were also seriously damaged in the clashes.
The ICRC is in constant contact with the government with a view to looking after the people fleeing the area in order to seek refuge in towns and cities in neighbouring municipalities.
"Once again, we remind all parties to the conflict of their duty to spare and protect civilians and their property, as stipulated under international humanitarian law," said Mr Kocher.
ICRC staff travelled to the area in seven vehicles containing 14 tonnes of food, hygiene kits, roofing materials to repair damaged buildings and a water tank for the school. This work was carried out in cooperation with the Cauca branch of the Colombian Red Cross, which dispatched 10 volunteers and one vehicle to assist the efforts.
In accordance with its mandate to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict, the ICRC is continuing to monitor the situation in other parts of Cauca department affected by the conflict, including Toribío, Miranda, Jambaló, Santander de Quilichao and Caloto in the north, Suárez, Morales and Silvia in the centre, and Argelia municipality in the south.
For further information, please contact:
Érika Tovar (in Spanish), ICRC Cali, tel: +57 313 433 66 07
María Cristina Rivera (in Spanish), ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 75
Pascal Jequier (in English and French), ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 89
Alexis Heeb (in English, French and Spanish), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 218 76 10