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Cablegate: Goc, Local and International Response to Mass

VZCZCXYZ0021
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #6230 2391548
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271548Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8342
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9252
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG LIMA 5342
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0570
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4045
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1491

UNCLAS BOGOTA 006230

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR PRM, DRL AND WHA/AND; GENEVA FOR RMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM ICRC CO
SUBJECT: GOC, LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO MASS
DISPLACEMENTS IN CONDOTO, CHOCO

1. Summary. In response to a displacement of over 400 rural,
mostly Afro-Colombian residents of the Condoto municipality
in southern Choco, GOC, local government and international
humanitarian groups provided emergency humanitarian aid and
protection. In recent days, the internally displaced persons
(IDPs) and their leaders have been pressing the GOC to help
them coordinate a quick, safe and sustainable return home.
End Summary.

2. During the period July 27 - August 14, at least 400
displaced persons (IDPs), mostly Afro-Colombians, fled to
Condoto, a town with 12,400 residents in southern region of
the Choco department. Per the UN Humanitarian Coordinator
(OCHA), these displacements were due to FARC presence and
combat with the Colombian military in the rural areas of the
municipality. Per established practice, the Condoto
municipal government and public forces (police, military) set
up a committee to attend to the IDPs and arranged temporary
housing for all arrivals in Condoto's Montessori school as
well as with local residents.

3. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the GOC's
Accion Social, and international humanitarian groups helped
the Condoto municipal government respond to the crisis.
GOC's Accion Social took over management of the emergency
response. The municipality, aided by the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), delivered food, household
and hygiene items to the IDPs. Several other municipal and
national government agencies worked together to deliver other
health and protection-related assistance to the arrivals:

- the local San Jose de Condoto hospital is attending to
IDP's medical needs - no outbreaks or acute illness have
developed amongst the arrivals;
- Department of Choco Health authorities and the GOC Ministry
of Social Protection, working with PAHO, coordinated the
delivery of additional medical supplies to the local hospital;
- PAHO worked with local officials to install water filters
in the temporary shelters to increase the potable water
supply (Note: This component of PAHO's program is funded by
the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.);
- the local Personeria and Accion Social reached out to IDPs
and are accepting declarations for the IDP registry;
- the municipality, working in collaboration with IDP
leaders, helped IDPs in need of basic identity documents.

5. In addition to the ICRC and PAHO, the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and OCHA are monitoring the
situation.

6. In recent days, IDPs' leaders met with the Condoto
municipality to discuss the desire of many IDPs to return
quickly to their homes. Prior to the return, the IDPs'
leaders agreed the IDPs must reach consensus to voluntarily
return. Leaders also pressed local, GOC and military
officials to provide the security and material support needed
to make their return safe and sustainable. In particular,
they urged the public forces, which recently increased their
presence in Condoto, to verify security conditions in the
rural areas. GOC and international groups were asked to
provide humanitarian aid and transport to support the return.

Nichols

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