ISDR Informs - The Americas


The Colombian Red Cross

The Colombian Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Department of Meta, head of the Orinoco-Amazon region, is one of the many places where the movement strives to fulfill its institutional mission through several activities to bring well-being to a large number of people who live in this vast territory. In this context, different actions have been taken to generate processes in accordance with its Institutional Development Plan. This has contributed to the work being done in the fields of risk reduction, response and recovery in the most vulnerable communities in various Colombian departments, in line with the movement’s bylaws, regulations and core principles.

The mission of the Colombian Red Cross is to prevent and mitigate human suffering in all circumstances; protect life and health, and ensure respect for all individuals, especially in times of armed conflict or other emergencies; strive to prevent disease and foster health and social well-being; encourage volunteer work and willingness among the movement members, as well as a universal sense of solidarity towards those in need of protection and assistance; and promote and defend human rights, international humanitarian law, and the core principles of the movement.

Currently, a series of risk reduction efforts are underway in the Department of Meta, as is the development of a Departmental Disaster Prevention Plan, and hazard and risk maps. Also, an agreement was signed with the local government to reduce the risk of landmines in 20 municipalities, to strengthen the Local Disaster Prevention and Response Committees (CLOPADs) and to develop Local Emergency and Contingency Plans (PLECS), while taking into account land-use planning indicators

in 22 Municipalities. In addition, the Local Emergency and Contingency Plan and the Local Disaster Prevention and Response Plan protocol for the city of Villavicencio and the Municipality of Acacia are almost finalized. Likewise, primary and high school students are being trained in disaster and emergency response and preparedness, as well as in hazard assessments.

Training is being offered in 23 municipalities of the Department of Meta, in order to create School Emergency Committees with emphasis on landmines (a problem that has arisen due to internal armed conflict), as well as “train the trainers” courses on the risks of anti-personal mines (MAP) and unexploded ammunition (MUSE) in 20 municipalities.

In response to these problems, the population that has been displaced due to the internal armed conflict is being assisted and, in agreement with the International Red Cross Committee —which has a broader coverage at the national level—, emergency situations are being managed. We advise on the construction of provisional shelters, we receive and distribute humanitarian aid, and we provide assistance to landmine victims, and people with health issues. In terms of recovery, we train displaced people in productive processes, we assist anti-personal mine victims through specialized services, and we accompany victims to medical appointments to undergo special procedures. We also assist victims in obtaining prostheses, and we help them and their relatives find shelters in emergency situations. In case of disasters, we help locate shelters, and provide advice and training in productive processes.

William Henry Peralta
Colombian Red Cross