(Translated by Richard Henighan, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
From: The Senior Community Council of the Alto Atrato Peasants Popular Organization
To: The national & international community, organizations defending Human Rights, State Officials, especially those concerned with public health services, which are characterized as fundamental rights protected by the political constitution of Colombia.
Re the following:
1. That since January of this year, in the communities of San Marino, Samper and Cuchadocito, among others, all belonging to the Municipality of Bagado in the Alto Andagueda, there has somehow developed among the populations of these places massive fever, diarrhea, headache, stomach ache, loss of appetite and pallor, creating a crisis that has reached the point of claiming its first fatality, a six year old boy from San Marino.
2. That in the chief municipality of Bogado there have occurred outbreaks of malaria which greatly worry the residents of this location since it is an illness which can be fatal to those who suffer it.
3. Given the constant requests and the TV publicity about the sanitary emergency in the zone, The EPS CAPRECON, under the State’s authority, deployed a brigade of health workers to the communities on February 24. This deployment to attend to the people lasted only two days, which is totally insufficient for such a large problem, and on top of this, they did not aid all the places where there was a serious emergency, such as the community of Samper. It should be noted that this medical brigade arrived in the zone without medications; these arrived late on the second day and in amounts insufficient for the number of ill persons. All of this is plainly an unsatisfactory response to such a sanitary tragedy
We demand that the State and other public and private authorities charged with guaranteeing the Right to Health organize work projects sufficient to a satisfactory response to the health emergency that today causes suffering to our people. We demand projects that can identify the causes of the epidemic, carry out fumigations for prevention in the fight against malaria, administer appropriate medications, and accomplish the remaining preventive measures. We ask anew that CODOCHOCO, as the competent environmental authority, control mining activities moving ahead in the zone, which is certainly illegal and which continue to worry us due to the fact that the contamination of the rivers and the blockage of water flow as a result of this activity can be the cause of illnesses such as malaria, among other calamities. We insist that the State’s organs charged with such control and vigilance make sure that the above demands are complied with.
We call for the solidarity of national and international NGOs concerned with the defense of human rights in assistance in publicizing and spreading information about the problems and the violations of fundamental human rights that we denounce today.
Our organization expresses solidarity with the communities of Alto Andagueda and calls again for the effective presence of the State, through the authorities with this responsibility, in implementing programs and activities which guarantee the enjoyment of the rights to life, equality and health which our community has.
Quibdo, March 3, 2010
The Senior Community Council of Ato Atrato Cocomopoco Peasants Popular Organization