Colombia: ICRC activities from January to March 2009
29-05-2009 Operational Update
The armed conflict in Colombia has had serious consequences, hitting many communities hard and isolating others. Food and other resources are scarce. Between January and March 2009, the ICRC set up new agricultural projects for local farmers and displaced persons, to help families meet their basic needs.
A fuller version of this article is available in Spanish, with statistics, photos and more detailed information.
In the first quarter of 2009, six new projects were approved and/or launched in several regions of the country, benefiting 1,800 people.
The aim of these individual and group projects is to increase beneficiaries’ daily intake of fresh food, which is in short supply as a result of the conflict. The ICRC provides agricultural supplies such as tools, seed, fertilizer, organic pesticides and animals for breeding. It also offers technical assistance and training.
Workshops on farming techniques were also conducted to help communities improve their knowledge and practices in vegetable production and chicken breeding.
People who have been displaced by the armed conflict need emergency humanitarian aid. The ICRC, on some occasions supported by the Colombian Red Cross, focuses on meeting these basic needs.
In the first quarter of 2009, around 14,000 people received aid in Colombia. The ICRC has offices in 11 cities and has signed cooperation agreements with six branches of the Colombian Red Cross.
Between January and March 2009, some projects in Colombia came to an end, while others were identified, prepared and carried out.
In the muncipality of Curillo (C aquetá department), the ICRC repaired and renovated the infrastructure of a school boarding house. In Pasto (Nariño department) the organization built and equipped a children's play centre and adapted the sanitation facilities and kitchen of the UAO (unit responsible for welcoming and advising displaced persons). This office comes under the authority of the Acción Social department that assists displaced persons in matters such as education, health, youth issues and training.
In February, the the ICRC completed the first phase of a project to build a space on the premises of the Fundación San Filipe de Neri in Bogotá for workshops offering training to people disabled by landmines and other explosive devices.
In the first quarter of 2009, the ICRC provided economic assistance to 200 people who had been affected by the armed conflict. These included people injured by landmines, explosive remnants of war or other weapons, and victims of sexual violence. They benefited from medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Between January and March 2009 the ICRC collected and delivered 18 Red Cross messages, which contain news of a purely personal and family nature. These enabled hostages and detainees to get back in contact with their relatives.
ICRC delegates also visited people deprived of their freedom in connection with the conflict and assessed their detention conditions and treatment.
With support from the Colombian Red Cross, the ICRC organized 28 community talks in various cities around the country. These talks provided inform ation on safe behaviour in areas contaminated by anti-personnel landmines, improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war.