Over 700 Indigenous and Afro-Colombians from eight communities have been displaced in Tumaco, Colombia, forced out of their homes by violent clashes between unidentified armed groups on Jan. 16.
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The affected, about 263 families belonging to the Santa Maria, Bocas de Caunapi, Chapilar, el Coco, Vuelta Larga, San Francisco, Ambupi and Corriente Grande, sheltered in hotels or with friends and relatives mostly in San Andres Tumaco city, Nariño department, according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The violent clashes have affected more people in other neighboring communities. OCHA says the armed groups’ activities and threats restrict the mobility of about 144 people in the Chorrera and Peñas de los Santos communities, preventing them from accesing their own crops they use for commerce and self consumption. The number of displaced is expected to increase as authorities take the census and more families are pushed out of their homes due violence.
Local social organizations are demanding the government for security, food support, medical and psychological assistance and proper shelters to deal with the “insecurity and possible reprisals by the armed groups” and assist the affected population.
Cited by OCHA, the social organizations warn that the massive displacement could lead to overcrowding.
Tumaco’s municipal authorities are taking a census to address the issue and international organizations are monitoring the situation to develop an effective answer to the problem.
The President of the Community Action Group of Aguas Claras, Maritza Ramirez Chaverra, was severely beaten up in Tumaco during the Jan. 14 attacks. She died in the hospital Thursday, after 10 days struggling to survive.
Ramirez Chaverra was also active in programs that aim for the substitution of illegal crops in her community.