Americas

Colombia protests threaten water supply in Bogota

Some 8 million people could be left without drinking water

14.05.2021
Colombia protests threaten water supply in Bogota

BOGOTA, Colombia 

Colombia's National Strike protests are threatening access to clean water for Bogota’s eight million inhabitants. 

The capital's public utility company said that due to the road blockades caused by the strike, purifiers and other chemicals used in water treatment have not been able to arrive in the city.

The company warned that if these supplies take time to arrive, there could be service problems in the coming days.

"The Company will continue to make all necessary efforts to solve this situation and will inform citizens immediately when the delivery of supplies is normalized,” said the company General Manager, Cristina Arango.

Bogota's Mayor Claudia Lopez voiced her concern on Twitter.

“It cannot be that as a result of blockades, Bogota’s drinking water supply, and that of the region, is at risk!”

Protests are in the third week in Colombia, a nation that has been hit hard by the pandemic. Thousands of people gathered in Bogota’s historic Plaza de Bolivar on Wednesday.

At least 40 people have died in connection to the protests and the deaths are being investigated by the country's ombudsman.

International human rights groups say the death toll may be higher and have asked police to stop excessive force against protesters. Blockades around the country are leading to shortages of goods, fuel and medical supplies.

Demonstrations were initially caused by outrage at a now-canceled tax reform bill presented by President Ivan Duque's government, but protesters’ demands have expanded to include the withdrawal of a health reform and government actions to tackle inequality and police brutality.

Protests have intensified as coronavirus cases reach record levels in Colombia, where there are more than three million COVID-19 cases and almost 80,000 people have died from the virus.

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