The Colombian Livestock Federation (Fedegán) revealed that around 50,000 animals have died during the past month due to the extreme drought the country has been suffering since the early arrival of weather phenomenon El Niño.

The drought has affected 36 municipalities in seven departments, reaching nearly 2 million hectares and affecting almost 4 million Colombians.

Fedegán’s executive president, José Félix Lafaurie, estimated 274 million Colombian pesos will be lost by the federation: animal weight loss – 53 million; milk production decrease – 38 million; cows’ fertility decrease – 119 million; impairment of soils and pastures – 64 million.

El niño affects several countries in South America every year. While Peru and Ecuador are affected by floods, Colombia and others in Central America are affected by droughts.

Colombia’s National Risk Management Unit announced they will be spending 28,500 millions in ‘permanent solutions’ to prevent massive losses in the future. Some of the solutions include drilling 300 meter-deep wells and the implementation of irrigation systems.

Dry weather during the summer had already claimed the lives of over 20,000 cattle and 15,000 wild animals earlier this year.

Environmental groups claim the indiscriminate never-ending destruction of forests and the uncontrolled drilling of oil wells are to blame for the creation of vast stretches of ‘desertic’ lands where rivers and lakes are left unprotected from the sun.

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