The Pan-American Observatory in "La Guajira", Carla Urbina. March, 2011. 

The Pan-American Observatory has joined, from the month of March, the work group for the Strategic Plan for the ideal use of the territory of the Guajira region.

The work group is formed by institutions such as Fe y Alegría and the Wayuu Taya Foundation and representatives of the communities (Tamare, Paraguaipoa, Sinamaica, Cojoro) and who live and work in the area (north of the Zulia-Venezuela State).

As a part of the Environmental Commission the Observatory will look to discuss issues regarding the use of the territory, risk minimisation and the safeguarding of the three landscape purposes: protection, production and recreation/leisure. These considerations aiming towards a sustainable development in this area where 80% of its extent was affected by the floods of last December 2010.

La Guajira under water. An overview of the situation.

The Manuelote reservoir dam burst, causing the flooding and the loss of 5 million cubic metres of drinking water.

The flooding of the Paraguachón and Limón rivers.

The flooding of villages entailing the loss of housing and belongings, animals and crops. Isolation of the north area, not affected by floods but cut-off by road closures which left them with no access to food supplies or medical care.

The population has currently returned to their homes although no corrective action has been taken towards risk minimisation, alerting, prevention and/or evacuation planning.

The damage to the Manuelote dam infrastructure is still unresolved and the Tulé reservoir has serious structural damage, creating a high risk of flooding in the area and the possible loss of the drinking water source for the state of Zulia.