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Country analysis

Colombia


Despite the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2016, the country continues to face multiple challenges. Since 2020, there has been a fragmentation of armed groups and organised crime groups seeking greater territorial control of strategic areas and routes for drug-trafficking. Armed groups' struggle for territorial control has increased the number of clashes, as a result also increasing the number of displacement

and confinement events.

The migrant and refugee population in Colombia rose from less than almost 24,000 to 22.5 million. Until January 2023, more than 1.6 million Venezuelans were granted Temporary Protected Status. By the end of 2022, an estimated two million Venezuelans intending to stay in Colombia required humanitarian

assistance. The primary needs reported are access to food, shelter, housing support, and employment or income sources.  

Colombia is prone to frequent natural disasters. The rainy season (May–November) typically causes rivers to overflow, leading to road blockages, limitations to agricultural activities, and damage to crops, homes, and other infrastructure. During the dry season, forest fires are common, destroying large hectares of forest and restricting access to crops, leading to food insecurity and health concerns.

(UNHCR 30/12/2022, OCHA 29/11/2022, UNGRD 2022,

Portal Fruticola 08/11/2022, R4V 06/12/2022)

Despite the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2016, the country continues to face multiple challenges. Since 2020, there has been a fragmentation of armed groups and organised crime groups seeking greater territorial control of strategic areas and routes for drug-trafficking. Armed groups' struggle for territorial control has increased the number of clashes, as a result also increasing the number of displacement

and confinement events.

The migrant and refugee population in Colombia rose from less than almost 24,000 to 22.5 million. Until January 2023, more than 1.6 million Venezuelans were granted Temporary Protected Status. By the end of 2022, an estimated two million Venezuelans intending to stay in Colombia required humanitarian

assistance. The primary needs reported are access to food, shelter, housing support, and employment or income sources.  

Colombia is prone to frequent natural disasters. The rainy season (May–November) typically causes rivers to overflow, leading to road blockages, limitations to agricultural activities, and damage to crops, homes, and other infrastructure. During the dry season, forest fires are common, destroying large hectares of forest and restricting access to crops, leading to food insecurity and health concerns.

(UNHCR 30/12/2022, OCHA 29/11/2022, UNGRD 2022,

Portal Fruticola 08/11/2022, R4V 06/12/2022)

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Latest updates on country situation

05 February 2024

In the northern Colombian department of La Guajira, 77% of rural households do not have access to clean drinking water and WASH services, putting them at a higher risk of contracting waterborne diseases and diarrhoea. In 2024, 260,000 people are estimated to require food assistance in the department, with 46% (120,000) coming from indigenous communities. These groups require humanitarian assistance in accessing food, drinking water, and WASH services. (OPS et al. 05/02/2024; FSC/Nutrition Cluster 03/01/2024)

29 January 2024

According to the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management of Colombia, wildfires, floods, displacement, and water shortages affected over 100,000 people in January 2024. The disaster unit attributed the natural hazards to the warmer temperatures generated by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Affected people require access to healthcare services (in response to the heat-related health emergencies resulting from warmer temperatures), fresh drinking water, and shelter. (UNGRD 29/01/2024, ERCC accessed 01/02/2024, El Colombiano 26/01/2024)

17 January 2024

At least 520,000 migrants and refugees entered the Darien Gap in Colombia and crossed to Panama in 2023, the highest number to date. Most of them crossed in August (81,946) and September (75,268). One-fourth (113,180) were minors, a high percentage of whom were under five years old and many of whom were unaccompanied. More than half of the total came from Venezuela (328,650), followed by Ecuador (57,250), Haití (46, 422), and China (25,565). To 90% of these migrants and refugees, the start and end points for crossing the Darien Gap were the town of Acandí in northeastern Colombia and the towns of Bajo Chiquito and Lajas Blancas in southern Panama. Their main needs in 2023 were access to WASH services, protection, education, food, and health assistance. (UNICEF 11/01/2024, MSF 1/09/2023, Govt. Panama 16/01/2024)

06 December 2023

In early November 2023, flooding affected more than 12,000 people in northern and central Colombia. The town of Maicao in La Guajira department near the northern border with Venezuela recorded the highest number of people affected (4,852). The affected population requires immediate assistance in the form of food, shelter, and clothing. (OCHA 05/11/2023, LGH 06/11/2023)

06 December 2023

On 13 September 2023, the closure of mining operations in Venezuela by the armed forces forced over 1,000 people to relocate to Colombia. They settled close to the border in Inirida city, Guainía department. Since December 2022, more than 4,000 IDPs have also come to Inirida and surrounding areas. The affected population requires shelter, drinking water, and food assistance. (ACH et al. 06/12/2023)

08 July 2023

From January to the end of June 2023, 18,755 people have been displaced and at least 20,300 (5,825 families) have been confined throughout the country. Violence and disputes over territorial control between armed groups, FARC dissidents and criminal organisations have particularly affected the departments of Arauca, Cauca, Chocó, and Nariño. Despite the ceasefire and dialogues between armed groups and the Government, so far in 2023 there have been 89 displacement events, a minimal reduction compared to the 92 events in the same period in 2022. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations are the most affected by violence. Children and adolescents face risks of forced recruitment and sexual violence. Displaced people require food, emergency education, access to livelihoods, shelter, and protection. Humanitarian access is restricted because of armed clashes and the presence of explosive devices in some areas. (Defensoría del Pueblo 23/06/2023, Defensoría del Pueblo 10/07/2023, OCHA 20/04/2023)

28 June 2023

Between January–April 2023, 127,000 migrants (mainly Venezuelans) crossed into the Darién jungle from the municipality of Necoclí, Colombia. This figure represents an increase of five times more than the same period in 2022. Migrants in transit need shelter, protection, access to drinking water and food, and adequate hygiene and sanitation. (OCHA 20/06/2023, MSF 28/06/2023)

current crises
in Colombia


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

COL001 - Complex crisis

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Socio-political
Conflict
Violence
Floods
Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

4 High

Access constraints

3.0

COL002 - Venezuelan refugees

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.7 High

Access constraints

2.0

REG002 - Venezuela Regional Crisis

Last updated 28/11/2023


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

3.9 High

Access constraints

4.0

Analysis products
on Colombia

Colombia: anticipated impact of wildfires

20 February 2024

Colombia: anticipated impact of wildfires

DOCUMENT / PDF / 645 KB

Since the start of January 2024, multiple wildfires have raged in a number of Colombia’s departments. As at 26 January, the fires had ravaged approximately 17,000 hectares, with no information available on the number of people injured.

Natural hazards
Colombia: humanitarian impacts in Amazonas department

12 February 2024

Colombia: humanitarian impacts in Amazonas department

DOCUMENT / PDF / 4 MB

This report aims to explain elements necessary to understanding the humanitarian crisis in Colombia’s Amazonas department, with a specific focus on the impacts on the indigenous population. 

Colombia: impact of El Niño on Magdalena Medio region

24 January 2024

Colombia: impact of El Niño on Magdalena Medio region

DOCUMENT / PDF / 424 KB

Since August 2023, below-average precipitation resulting from El Niño has affected Colombia’s Caribbean and Andean regions, as well as some departments in the Pacific and eastern areas. Temperature and precipitation anomalies are expected to continue during the first quarter of 2024.

Natural hazards
Colombia-Ecuador: Crisis to watch at the border

22 December 2023

Colombia-Ecuador: Crisis to watch at the border

DOCUMENT / PDF / 2 MB

This report provides an overview of two key humanitarian crises in the Colombia-Ecuador border area that are expected to persist in the next 6–12 months. Specifically, the report presents an overview and an outlook of the humanitarian impact of armed violence and migration flows on the civilian population in the region.

Colombia: escalation of armed violence in Cauca

07 December 2023

Colombia: escalation of armed violence in Cauca

DOCUMENT / PDF / 911 KB

This report aims to provide elements for understanding the violence escalation afflicting Cauca department in 2023 and to highlight the associated protection risks.

Conflict and violenceProtection
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