The phenomenon of La Niña in 2010 and 2011 that destroyed 8,000 homes, caused damage in more than 400,000 others, and affected 3.5 million people, showed how vulnerable we are when facing natural phenomena, and what is missing to reduce that vulnerability.
In fact, in the first decade of this century there were more houses and people affected by floods and landslides in Colombia than in the previous 30 years.
According to World Bank studies, this increased frequency of disasters and the magnitude of their damage are due to the increased exposition and vulnerability of Colombians: 85% of the population lives in areas exposed to two or more natural threats.
The risk of living in a city
The Colombians that live in cities are those that are the most exposed and vulnerable to disasters.
The reason is that there are more and more houses built informally, with inadequate material and construction techniques, and in places with more risk.
More than half of the houses destroyed by floods, landslides, eruptions, earthquakes and other disasters since 1970 have been built in areas considered unfit to be urbanized. Most of these houses have been destroyed by floods, according to World Bank studies.
This is a crucial topic, considering that three out of four Colombians live in urban areas and that the number of families that are settling down in precarious housing is continuing to grow.