On 11 March 2017, a group of 54 families moved in the newly built town of Gramalote, Colombia some seven years after the decimation of the town as a consequence of the La Niña phenomena. They are part of the nearly 3,300 climate displaced people who were affected by the massive mudslide that destroyed their community in December 2010. Other families will continue moving throughout 2017 as their houses and other public buildings such as the school and hospital are finalized. It is expected that the 1,000 new houses will all be completed by March 2018. Despite challenges during the reconstruction process, especially during the initial stages, the outcomes so far are very encouraging. In many ways, Colombia is setting a positive example of how to deal fairly and equitably with effects of climate displacement and resultant planned relocation. In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the government of Colombia rightfully committed itself to rebuilding the entire town and ensuring that those affected would receive new homes for the homes they lost. Seven years later, it appears that the government is admirably keeping its promise. We hope governments everywhere will do the same and engage directly in preventing, repairing and resolving climate displacement in all of its forms, and in a manner that fully respects and protects the HLP and other rights of those affected.
Displacement Solutions will continue to closely follow Gramalote’s relocation process and highlight the lessons learned as the process continues to unfold. We already know that the people of Gramalote have multiple challenges ahead of them in order to rebuild their lives, community, and livelihoods. Only when that is accomplished can we assert for sure that this relocation has been entirely successful. A short video inaugurating the new town is viewable here