Evacuations continue as Colombian emergency crews enter the scene of the Ituango hydroelectric plant after authorities lowered their advisories from red to orange, Tunja firefighters report.
Colombia: 1500 Dam Workers Evacuated After New Tremors, Landslide
Despite the recent announcement, communities on the banks of the Cauca River are considered at highest risk to the effects of the construction scene of the country’s largest hydroelectric plant which was subject to severe tremors this May.
However, the region has launched various initiatives to assist in the return to normalcy. Construction on the three-year project began again Sunday, June 17, raising the height of the dam from 235 meters to 415 meters above sea level.
Over 20,000 people participated in 19 evacuation drills and 163 workshops led by the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management who have also installed numerous warning systems into the affected municipalities.
Although 30 shelters are in use to host the 3,200 families, the Ministry of Education and the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) announced its support and called for the Department of Education to double its stabilization efforts and have classrooms available for the first week of July, in line with the normal school calendar.
The tremors detected during the early hours of May 7 led to some damage to structures in the area where the US$4 billion power plant is being built. It also caused "a total blockage in the tunnel" that diverts the Cauca River, the second largest tributary channel in the country, during the works.
According to a report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Tuesday, Colombia was found to host some 7.7 million internally displaced persons, one of the highest figures in the world. The U.N. stated the reason is primarily due to a large amount of internal armed conflicts, however over 25,000 have been forced from their homes as a result of the state’s ambitious dam design.