.- A report by the University of the Andes and Catholic Charities of Colombia is warning that those displaced by the civil conflict in that country are worse off than poor families in urban areas. The report was the result of a survey of 300 displaced individuals from fifty different municipalities in Colombia.
According to the National Secretariat for Social Ministry, “The results show that the economic recovery of a displaced person, who is in better conditions than others, is barely equal to that of the historically poorest population of the country.”
Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, called the findings a “national tragedy” that requires “solutions of meaningful solidarity.”
According to the report, the economic situation of 76% of those displaced has worsened since they abandoned their homes. Government statistics indicate this to be the case for some 1,700,000 people-or 3.7% of Colombia’s population. “Given the expansion of the conflict throughout Colombia, almost all the municipalities of the country have either had some of its people displaced or have received displaced people from other areas. Moreover, in 2004, the level of displacements in the ten municipalities most affected by this phenomenon reached almost 60,000 displaced persons per 100,000 inhabitants,” the report revealed.
The report recommends special attention be given to the problem, as many people run the risk of “falling into chronic poverty.”
The complete report in Spanish can be found at <http://www.pastoralsocialcolombia.org/informe.htm>