On Monday, a landslide prompted by heavy rains in Cali city, cut 300 families off and destroyed 500 meters of the international Pan-American highway.
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"About 164 families with damaged or destroyed dwellings are already in shelters,” President Gustavo Petro applauded upon arriving in Cali from Chile, where he was paying an official visit.
"The National Unit for Risk & Disaster Management (UNGRD) managed to avoid a tragedy because it quickly evacuated families living in the disaster area," he said, stressing that there have been no deaths so far.
To reduce the impact of landslides on road connectivity, his administration proposed to build 70 new kilometers of the Pan-American highway from the accident area, where there is a tectonic fault.
"This initiative will allow a safer flow of road mobility not only between our country and Ecuador but also between our southern departments and Bogota,” Petro said, stressing the need to manage housing for the families who lost their homes.
"We plan to buy nearby farms to relocate these families, who cannot build or repair their dwellings in their former place of residence because of its tectonic risk,” the President insisted.
In 2022, downpours in Colombia affected over 538,000 people, 216 of whom died. Experts associate the rainfall increase with La Niña weather phenomenon, which occurs when sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean cool below normal levels.