Colombia swamped again

Heavy rains cause flooding in Bogota

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    Over 100 people have been killed in Colombia since the rainy season started in September [EPA]

    Last year the rains caused devastating floods, and this year they're heavy again.

    Colombia has two rainy seasons each year, one running between March and May, and the other in September to November. The second rainy season is nearing its end, but it’s certainly not over yet.

    Many parts of northern and central Colombia have already been hit by flooding in the past few weeks, and now the disruption is affecting the capital, Bogota.

    The recent torrential rains have flooded vast areas of farmland surrounding the capital, which overflowed onto some of the main roads.

    The rains have also triggered several landslides, including a considerable fall in Manizales, which lies on the main route connecting Bogota with the west of the country. The landslide blocked the road, leaving over a thousand lorries stranded.

    Since the beginning of the second rainy season in September, 102 people have lost their lives due to the severe weather.

    Even before the rainy season started, there were already concerns that the rains would be heavier than usual. The concerns grew after the return of La Nina, a natural phenomenon which affects the weather across the globe.

    Certainly La Nina had a profound impact on the weather in Colombia in the last 12 months. The rain that started last year, continued straight through the normally dry period between December to March, and merged with the following rainy season which continues until May.

    In the year up to May 2011, it was reported that as much as six times the average rainfall fell in some parts of Colombia. It’s estimated that as many as three million people were forced out of their homes.

    This year, the rains have not been quite as heavy, but the ground is still saturated. This means that the recent rains have caused more problems than they would have otherwise.

    The real concern is that this year’s rainy season could be extended, and last year’s devastation could be repeated.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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