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Doctors Without Borders: Violence remains in areas of Colombia

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  • Wed, 08/16/2017 - 17:25
Doctors Without Borders: Violence remains in areas of Colombia

Bogota.- Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that violence remains active in Buenaventura and Tumaco localities, despite the end of the conflict with the FARC, and denounced the increase of other armed groups and the deterioration in the health of the population.

On their report “In the shadow of the process. Impact of other violence on the health of the Colombian population,” the NGO pointed out that the violence situations have an “important impact on the physical and mental health of the population of the municipalities of Buenaventura and Tumaco”.

Buenaventura, describe the report, "is home of the most important maritime port of the Colombian Pacific", "is in the middle of the corridor of drug trafficking to Central America and North America," and about 65% of its population "lives in extreme poverty and without basic services."

At the same time, Tumaco, in the department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador, hosted in 2015 "Colombia's largest coca cultivation area", estimated at "16,960 hectares (18% of the country's coca crops)," said the document, which quotes data from the United Nations and the Colombian government.

“In those zones we can see an increase of the presence and
influence of criminal organizations and other armed groups," the study said.

"Other situations of violence (OSV), such as threats, selective homicides, kidnappings, disappearances, harassment, extortion and confinement, are being observed in communities," explain the text.

MSF warned of "the high levels of violence witnessed by the organization's teams in Buenaventura and Tumaco," and called for "an increase in resources to meet the mental health needs derived from this situation and take care of the victims of sexual violence.

According to data collected between 2015 and 2016 in Buenaventura and Tumaco, "exposure to violent events and risk factors led to depression (25%), anxiety (13%), mental disorders (11%) and posttraumatic stress a great part of the population".

And although MSF's head of mission in Colombia, Juan Matías Gil, clarified that the "situations and needs of patients seen by MSF in these cities cannot be extrapolated directly to the rest of the country," he said that they "can be considered as a plausible approximation of reality in urban and rural areas of many provinces in the country.”

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