BOGOTA (AlertNet) – Humanitarian aid meant for floods victims in Colombia is being resold in public squares and distributed by local government officials to garner political support among affected communities, Colombia’s leading daily, El Tiempo reported.
In an interview with the newspaper Sandra Morelli, head of Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office, which is monitoring the relief and reconstruction effort following the worst flooding in the Andean nation for more three decades, said the distribution of humanitarian aid is marred by “inadequate protocols about aid delivery and confusion about the real origin of aid.”
She also raised the alarm about the lack of medical care given to flood victims and the poor sanitary conditions in the hundreds of schools and other public buildings being used as temporary shelters in the hardest hit areas across Colombia’s northern provinces and along the Pacific coast.
“What’s drawing attention is that many people living in tents along main roads have never received any kind of medical attention,” the paper quoted Morelli as saying on Thursday.
Officials were not immediately available for further comment.
Torrential rains battering Colombia since April last year have killed over 280 people, driven hundreds of thousands from their homes and in total disrupted the lives of 2.2 million, according to government figures.
Since the government of President Juan Manuel Santos declared a national state of emergency in November last year, hundreds of thousands of Colombians remain living in makeshift shelters surrounded by floodwaters and are dependent on food aid.
The government has allocated over $260 million to deal with the aftermath of the devastating floods.
Local media have reported that while in many parts of Colombia, there has been a large mobilisation of aid, there have also been persistent complaints among local communities about corruption and irregularities in its distribution.