Colombia's Administrative Department of Disaster Prevention (Dapard), along with the Red Cross and EPM, released a joint statement to warn of the looming danger from flooding caused by the Cauca River.
Flooded by Giant Waves, Strong Winds
On Saturday, a footbridge, which connects to a health center, collapsed and two neighborhoods have flooded after one of the tunnels of the HidroItuango hydropower project opened about a week.
“Please, withdraw immediately from the riverbed and the banks of the river. In the next few minutes, the flow of water from the Cauca River downstream of HidroItuango will increase, due to the unblocking of one of the tunnels.”
Colombian authorities have evacuated residents near low-lying areas as a precautionary measure. teleSUR correspondent Manuel Jimenez reported that the municipality of Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia, suffered serious flooding due to the unblocking of the tunnel. Municipalities such as Caceres, Caucasia, Taraza are at risk
A HidroItuango spokesman issued a statement warning that the volume of Cauca River could further increase as a result of an opening of an additional tunnel, which is currently leaking.
The officials are compiling a registry of people – estimated to be 150 families – who have been affected by flooding.
Sebastian Hernandez, a social worker, says that the river swelled and its increase has been very drastic. “That bridge communicates with the hospital. There is much anxiety. (In) the area of Tapias and Remolinos and you can see that there are houses destroyed.”
Hernandez added that a school was also affected. “Only until tomorrow when dawn will we know what really happened.”
Dapard has dispatched humanitarian aid for the families. So far, no deaths or injuries have been reported.
The collapsed of the Simon Bolívar bridge in Puerto Valdivia is of historic significance, being the first to allow road connection between Antioquia and the Atlantic Coast.