Environmental Emergency: Drought Kills Thousands of Animals in Colombia

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Chigüiro. Foto de Pierre Poulquin en Flickr bajo licencia Creative Commons  (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Capybara. Photo from Pierre Poulquin on Flickr under the Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC 2.0).

A drought that has left more than 20,000 animals dead —among them capybaras, spectacled caimans, and cows— in Paz de Ariporo in the Casanare Department, has shocked the world and alerted activists as well as environmental associations. 

The Latin American Voice published a letter where activists are denouncing the Colombian State and oil companies before the international community, the Organization of American States [en] and the United Nations [en], deeming them responsible for the environmental degradation. The letter concludes as follows: 

Solicitamos lo antes posible se lance una alerta mundial para proteger nuestros derechos humanos y animales, en especial de los habitantes de Casanare, Colombia, y le exija al gobierno colombiano tome cartas en el asunto y brinde una solución pronta y efectiva a este desastre ambiental, exigiendo a las petroleras la responsabilidad con el ambiente y reduzcan su impacto ambiental, e inste al congreso colombiano a legislar en favor del medio ambiente y moderen el modelo extractivista que tanto daño le hace a la humanidad.

We request that a global alert be launched as soon as possible to protect our human and animal rights, especially those of the inhabitants of Casanare, Colombia, and demand that the Colombian government take action on the matter and provides a prompt and effective solution to this environmental disaster, requiring that oil companies take responsibility for the environment and reduce their environmental impact, and urge the Colombian Congress to rule in favor of the environment and oversee the extractive model that causes so much damage to humankind.     

Other associations, including Avaaz.org, are carrying out a global campaign to reject the environmental catastrophe with this argument:

Han muerto cerca de 20 mil de animales.
El hydrochaeris hydrochaeris conocido como Chiguiro o Capibara esta catalogado en peligro de extinción y con la sequía se van a extinguir totalmente.
Están acabando con nuestro país.

Las petroleras deben: Hacer excavación de pozos artesanos

Sembrar… arboles nuevamente
Ser responsables socialmente, están matando nuestros animales. 
Haz clic aquí para ver el texto completo

About 20,000 animals have died. 
The hydrochaeris known as the capybara is considered endangered and with this drought it will become completely extinct. 
They are destroying our country. 

The oil companies must: dig artesian wells

Plant trees again… 
Be socially responsible, they are killing our animals.
Click here to see the full text. 

Las 2 orillas announced [es] that oil companies that operate in the sector are responsible for environmental damage:  

La población afectada le atribuye el daño ambiental a la intervención de las compañías petroleras como Pacific Rubiales, Geo Park, Cecolsa, Ecopetrol, Petrominerales, Parex y New Granada; a propósito los estudios arrojan que para extraer un galón de petróleo se necesitan 10 galones de agua y que para refinar un galón de petróleo se necesitan 7000 mil litros del preciado liquido.

The affected populations attribute the environmental damage to the intervention by oil companies like Pacific Rubiales, Geo Park, Cecolsa, Ecopetrol, Petrominerales, Parex, and New Granada; the studies purposely show that in order to extract a gallon of oil, 10 gallons of water are needed, and to refine one gallon of oil, 7 million liters of the precious liquid is needed.  

YouTube user Daniel Felipe García replicated a video from Caracol Television where viewers can see mud deposits converted into pits where animals die. The video also shows how the community tries to take out the animals that are still alive: 


At the same time, different environmental associations are expressing themselves on Twitter to call attention to this emergency:   

The drought in Casanare is an effect of climate change caused by irresponsible economic activities with the environment. 

Andrea Padilla called a demonstration on March 25 that was repeated on the 28, at the same time, in front of the Ministry of the Environment:

Tuesday the 25th, 2pm, protest at the Ministry of the Environment for the animal tragedy in Casanare.

Thank you, @Lullyp for DF. It will repeat on Thursday, the 28th, 2pm at the Ministry of the Environment. We cannot let our guard down.

Citizens on social networks have also spoken out in indignation, like Luis Alfonso Yepes:

Outrageous is the environmental crisis in #Casanare, outrageous is the State's response, outrageous is the “contribution” from the oil companies. A complete disgrace.

Anibal Osorio denuncia a petroleras por el desvío del agua:

While the oil companies are diverting water, thousands of capybaras and many other species are dying of thirst in Casanare.

The President of Colombia also spoke up on Twitter:

With the National Disaster Council we will put forth additional measures to mitigate the effects of the drought in Casanare.

While some media sources are announcing that the Attorney General's office is conducting investigations in addition to solutions announced from various entities and a plan to mitigate the problem is being promoted, the blogosphere continues to generate content and promote digital activism.


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