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Rapid Response Fund Payment Request No. 10/2013
Funds Sent To: Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia, IPC (Presbyterian Church in Colombia)
Amount Sent: USD 59,994
Date: 23 August 2013
Details of Response
Emergency: Displaced farmers in Catacumbo, Colombia
Date of Emergency: July 3th, 2013
ACT Requesting Member: Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia, IPC (Presbyterian Church in Colombia)
I. NARRATIVE SUMMARY
DETAILS OF THE EMERGENCY
The Catatumbo region covers the municipalities of Ocaña, Convention, El Tarra, Hacarí, Teorama, San Calixto, La Playa, El Carmen and Tibú. It is located in the northern part of the department of Norte de Santander in the northeastern border between Colombia and Venezuela. The Catatumbo region has a total of 22,317 km2, with a subdivision of 16,626 km2 of Colombian territory and the remaining 5,691 km2 corresponding to Venezuelan territory, the region takes its name from Catatumbo river. There is a Binational Catatumbo Natural Park - Bari, the forest reserve of the Serrania of the Motilones, two indigenous reserves the People Bari, ergo environmentally sensitive area because of its rich biodiversity and also the ancestral territory with more than 23 indigenous communities with more than 200,000 farmers living there.
A total of 12,000 farmers, approximately 5,000 women, 4,000 men and 3,000 children, are facing aggression from military and paramilitary forces resulting from ongoing demonstrations against forced displacements in the municipality of Tibú. The farmers have suspended a 54 day strike demonstration undertook in order to draw attention for their demands to the government to establish a Rural Reserve Zone covering 365,000 hectares, guaranteed by the state to farmers and indigenous communities, in order to represent a sustainable alternative for their income.
Until now, four (4) people were killed, hundreds injured (270 approximately) and many arrested on allegations that demonstrations have been infiltrated by illegal armed groups. The government position regarding the demonstrations is ambiguous. On one hand it is committed to establish a dialogue with the farmers’ movement, but on the other hand, it is threatening the farmers with military action saying they are aligned with illegal armed groups. A dialogue process has begun but the farmers returning to their homes have been confronted with a new wave of violent displacement which both puts their physical safety at risk and leaves them without any source of income for their food security. A gradual substitution program has been asked by the farmers. They have been unable to cultivate or plant in their small subsistence gardens during the demonstration and have depleted their reserve stocks of grains. Now, there is a crisis of lack of food and medicines.
ACTIONS TO DATE, AND EMERGENCY NEEDS
While the emergency in its humanitarian and human security dimensions is affecting approximately 12,000 persons in Catatumbo, the decision has been taken to focus the RRF response on the communities most affected by the militarized displacements of coca plantations which have had an impact on the health, safety and food security of 440 families.
The emergency needs are located in 13 small villages (veredas) with a total of 440 families (2640 people). The villages are: Miramontes, Caño Indio, El Taladro, Nuevo Sol, Caño Raya-Alto, Casa de Zinc, El Progreso 2, Chiquinquirá, Guachiman, 20 de Julio, Km 25, Monte Adentro and Angalia of Catatumbo, Norte de Santander.
ASCAMCAT –the Farmer’s Association of Catatumbo- together with the community committees have identified the following villages as the most vulnerable and with the most acute food emergency: Miramontes (100 families), Caño Indio (10 families), El Taladro (15 families), Nuevo Sol (15 families), Caño Raya- Alto (25 families), Casa de Zinc ( 12 families), El Progreso 2 (15 families), Chiquinquirá (10 families), Guachiman (42 families), 20 de Julio (19 families), Km 25 (44 families), Monte Adentro (63 families) and Angalia (70 families).
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