The humanitarian crisis facing Colombia after more than 40 years of conflict makes it one of the countries with the highest rates of internally displaced people (IDP) in the world. It is estimated that, to date, the accumulated number of Colombians who have been forced to abandon their areas to relocate in the marginal areas of many towns and cities may top three million.
An evaluation carried out jointly by the International Committee of the Red Cross and WFP shows that the average monthly income of an internally displaced family represents a little over 41 percent of the official minimum wage, equivalent to US$63 dollars. Of this amount, displaced people spend 58 percent on food, 6 percent on health, and just three percent on education.
The dynamics of displacements generally compel family groups to drastically change their daily routines. Once unable to generate sufficient income, the IDPs are forced to withdraw their children from school, reduce their consumption of the various products on the food basket and, eventually, reduce the number of times they eat every day.
Identifying displaced persons in Colombia is challenging, as displacement is constantly occurring throughout the country. WFP has strengthened its presence in the southern, northeast and eastern areas of the country where the number of IDPs is rising through the opening of sub-offices in Cali, Pasto and Neiva in 2006 and the inclusion of a new department, Arauca, as part of the Cucuta Sub-office geographical coverage, in 2008.
Together with the Colombian government and in response to the country’s difficult humanitarian situation, WFP carries out a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation aimed at finding suitable and lasting solutions to the food problems of displaced populations, the prevention of future displacements, and the continuation of the basic education of pre-school and school-aged boys and girls.
This operation will assist, per year, 530,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), vulnerable host communities and other groups affected by the internal conflict (women heads of household, pre-school and school-aged children, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations) and will require 90,086 metric tonnes of food at a cost of US$107.25 million.