What are the needs?
The Government of Colombia is working to implement a peace agreement with the country’s largest guerrilla group, FARC, to end the 50-year old conflict. However, civilians continue to suffer the humanitarian consequences of the ongoing violence as other armed groups (including the Ejército de Liberación Nacional, the Ejército Popular de Liberación and other armed groups struggle for territorial control. In 2015 and 2016 alone, 345 271 new forced displacements were officially registered. Seventy social and indigenous leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in 2016 so far (according to media reports). With more than 7.3 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Colombia has the world’s largest internal displacement caseload (according to government figures).
Colombia is also one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, recurrent floods and severe droughts regularly affect millions throughout the country. In November, floods displaced at least 20 409 families (approximately 80 000 people) in the Chocó department.
Priorities to support conflict-affected populations, especially in remote regions, include protection, access to health care and safe water, education and food assistance. Refugees and displaced people often need temporary housing and basic household items (hygiene kits, kitchen utensils), as well as psychological support and legal protection. Humanitarian affectations are expected to remain severe in the short to medium term, particularly for marginalised minorities such as indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, women and children.
How are we helping?
The European Commission is funding vital protection, food assistance, health care, water and sanitation to some of the most vulnerable Colombians affected by the conflict: women, children, indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations.
Colombian children are the focus of the Commission's education in emergencies funding which aims to ensure access to education, safe schools and psychological support for minors in conflict-affected regions.
Colombia is included in the Commission's list of 'forgotten crises', as a serious humanitarian crisis where affected populations are not receiving sufficient international aid. EU assistance prioritises sectors and areas with the largest number of affected people and where government access is limited. With more than €229 million in humanitarian aid since 1994, Colombia is the largest recipient of the Commission's assistance in Latin America. In 2016 alone, it allocated €10.85 million in aid to Colombia.