After having suffered a 5-year drought, followed by extreme rains and floods in the past few months, worsened by El Niño’s effect in Latin America and the Caribbean, this series looks at how people rebuild and live their daily lives in the La Guajira region of North East Colombia. Incorporating the support and interventions that have assisted them from ECHO as well as partner workers such as FAO and UNICEF.
La Guajira is a desert stretching into the Caribbean Sea, covering north-eastern Colombia and north-western Venezuela, both countries with acute humanitarian needs. A remote, destitute region, La Guajira has suffered a seven-year drought worsened by El Niño’s disruption of usual rain patterns in recent years. Spread over 20 000 km² (about the size of Slovenia), this peninsula is home to Colombia’s largest indigenous population, the Wayuu, who number close to 300 000 people.
The Wayuu have been battling drought and floods which devastate their crops, livestock and livelihoods. In 2016 alone, 86 children lost their lives to malnutrition.
The EU and its humanitarian partners UNFAO and UNICEF are helping hundreds of Wayuu families improve their food security, through technical and material support for better, more sustainable farming. Recovering traditional ways of subsistence saves lives in the short term, but also builds up the resilience of the most vulnerable to future droughts and floods.