Colombia's El Torno: Model Town for Sustainable Adaptation to Climate Change

24 April 2017
Language of the news reported


These innovations did not exist in 2010 when heavy flooding devastated the area, destroying crops, ecosystems and more than 20,000 homes.

The town of El Torno, in Colombia's northern province of Sucre, was seriously affected by flooding, which destroyed crops and homes, but today the community of 600 residents is an example of resilience and sustainable adaptation to climate change.

"This town has been totally reborn since the torrential rains that almost destroyed it in 2010," said the head of the United Nations project to adjust to climate change in the area, Diana Diaz.

Since 2013, the Environment Ministry and the UN Development Program have been working together with local leaders in the region to prepare the residents of the zone for the adversities caused by global warming by restructuring agricultural, housing and other multidisciplinary plans.

"We'll never avoid natural phenomena, but we can reduce their impact on the public," said Diaz, a psychologist who worked on social projects in Haiti after the deadly 2010 earthquake and who is now working in Colombia.

Along with other activities, the UNDP has helped develop traditional crops and seeds that resist flooding, droughts and plagues, has created housing adapted to adverse climate conditions and has set up an ambitious network of hydrological stations that warn local residents when the San Jorge River starts to become a threat due to rising water levels.

Photo: EFE