Colombia: Providencia island grapples with rebuilding efforts post-Hurricane Iota

In the aftermath of Hurricane Iota, the residents of Providencia, Colombia, battle for a say in the island's reconstruction, seeking to preserve their cultural heritage and fortify against future climate threats.

Juan Pablo Pérez Burgos reports for Mongabay.


In short:

  • Following Hurricane Iota's devastation in 2020, Providencia's reconstruction has been marked by discontent over government-led efforts, highlighting issues of poor consultation and substandard building materials.
  • Residents, led by Josefina Huffington, sued the government to ensure rebuilding respects local customs and addresses climate change resilience.
  • A ruling by Colombia’s Constitutional Court has mandated more inclusive consultation processes, stressing the importance of incorporating traditional practices and climate considerations in reconstruction efforts.

Key quote:

“We know that, for the rest of our lives, we are now vulnerable to climate change. That was one of the reasons we decided to sue.”

— Josefina Huffington, leader of Movimiento de Veeduría Cívica de Old Providence

Why this matters:

In communities like Providencia, where traditions and cultural practices are deeply intertwined with the fabric of daily life, there is often a strong desire among residents to ensure that reconstruction efforts respect and uphold these customs. Providencia's struggles emphasize the challenges faced by Caribbean communities in adapting to and preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Abrania Marrero: My island does not want to be resilient. We want a reclamation.

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