Red Cross: effects of violence in Columbia at ‘highest level’ of last 5 years
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Red Cross: effects of violence in Columbia at ‘highest level’ of last 5 years

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Wednesday said that the surging violence in Colombia caused the internal displacement of people, forced restriction of movement, and injury or death of people by explosives to reach the highest level of the past five years.

The country’s internal armed conflict has lasted almost 60 years and has killed at least 260,00 people. Although a peace deal was signed in 2016, fighting continues between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Over 52,880 people were displaced from their homes last year, more than doubling the number reported in 2020.

The head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia, Lorenzo Caraffi, is concerned with the upward “trend towards aggravation of the humanitarian situation” that the country is now facing. During 2021, three more armed groups confronted the state, including the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) and the remaining members of FARC who are currently not included in the peace agreement. Caraffi warned that the number of those affected in 2022 is expected to be even worse than 2021.

The ICRC has specifically been able to provide support in the most affected areas of Saravena, Araquita, Tame, and Fortul since the beginning of 2022. So far, at least 329 people have received food and hygiene products, and at least 11 healthcare facilities have received medical supplies. The organization also plans to assess damage to infrastructure due to explosives and evaluate how to best support efforts to rebuild, as well as train communities how to protect themselves during this time of violence.