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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

20 May 2024

2023 recorded 58,469 people displaced and 100,402 people confined in Colombia, a 14% decrease and 43% increase, respectively, compared to 2022. Clashes between non-state armed groups and insecurity were the primary causes behind both. Departments such as Cauca, Chocó, and Valle del Cauca, in western Colombia were the regions most affected. Those currently displaced and confined require access to food, WASH services, shelter, and ways to return to their homes and daily lives. (UNHCR 20/05/2024, IDMC accessed 21/05/2024)

04 March 2024

Despite a slight improvement in violence indicators, Colombia continues to grapple with humanitarian challenges. In January 2024, 12,600 individuals experienced displacement or forced confinement, primarily in the west. Of these, 8,600 were confined (69%) and 3,900 displaced (31%). Chocó witnessed the highest confinement rates, with up to 35,000 affected individuals in 2023. In Caquetá, 36,000 individuals faced mobility restrictions because of an armed strike earlier in 2024. Confrontations among armed groups and with state forces remain the primary cause of displacement and confinement. The affected populations, particularly those confined, urgently require access to food and protection from violence. (OCHA 01/03/2024, Radio Nacional 15/02/2024)

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)

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 19/04/2024


Drivers

Socio-political
Conflict
Violence
Floods
Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.8 High

Access constraints

3.0

COL002 - Venezuelan refugees

Last updated 19/04/2024


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.3 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: economic hardships and climate hazards in San Andrés

13 May 2024

Colombia: economic hardships and climate hazards in San Andrés

DOCUMENT / PDF / 874 KB

This report aims to inform humanitarian programming in Colombia, including ACAPS’s donors, to anticipate the potential developments derived from the compounding of climate hazards and economic vulnerability. 

EconomyNatural hazards
Colombia: confinements and mobility restrictions in Chocó, Nariño and Arauca

02 May 2024

Colombia: confinements and mobility restrictions in Chocó, Nariño and Arauca

DOCUMENT / PDF / 8 MB

This report aims to decipher the humanitarian impacts of confinements and mobility restrictions in Colombia, incorporating an intersectional approach that considers the gender and ethnic backgrounds of the affected people. 

Conflict and violence
Colombia: Child recruitment and use

15 April 2024

Colombia: Child recruitment and use

DOCUMENT / PDF / 3 MB

This report analyses the current situation of child recruitment and use by NSAGs and organised crime groups in the Colombian departments of Antioquia, Chocó, and Norte de Santander.

Protection
Colombia: food security crisis in Vichada department

07 March 2024

Colombia: food security crisis in Vichada department

DOCUMENT / PDF / 1 MB

Vichada department is facing a critical food security crisis, with climate change and the El Niño phenomenon affecting local food production and availability. Poor infrastructure, hindering access to public services, and the reliance on traditional farming methods, hampering farmers’ ability to sell their produce and generate income, have deepened the crisis. 

Food security & livelihoods
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.

Anticipatory analysisNatural hazards
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