More of five thousand cattle have died of hunger in just three months, in Puerto Wilches, Santander. A tragedy that dates back to March 2022, when the winter wave caused the rupture of the Magdalena River in the township of Sitio Nuevo, forming a new slope of at least 500 meters that local residents know as “el roto”.
At that time the fields and pastures of the region became mudscausing millions in losses in the crops and livestock farms. So the inhabitants of the area tried to close the hole, but the water level forced them to stop working halfway. Although, fortunately, a short “summer” helped them.
Until the last quarter of 2022, when the hole was filled again with the rains that increased the Magdalena riverbed, generating floods in the sectors of Paturia and New Site.
The situation was even worse in the north, in the municipalities of Campo Alegre, Chingalé, Bocas del Rosario, Vijagual, Guayabo, Badillo and Carpintero. But several of its residents managed to evacuate. An unlikely option for the farmers of Sitio Nuevo and Paturia, who helplessly began to see how hundreds of cows they didn’t get up againafter the fields and pastures were completely ruined.
There are those who speak of five thousand and even six thousand carcasses. A considerable number, taking into account that this area was home not long ago to more than forty thousand head of cattle.
“The situation is unfortunate, after a lot of water comes a time of harsh summer and we have the situation we have, the soils ran out of grass and the animals starve; this has gotten out of hand, we require the support of the National Government”, explained the mayor Jairo Toquica.
All Puerto Wilches looks like a cemetery, no man’s land, where neither animals nor crops manage to survive. Therefore, small and large ranchers in the area have been forced to lay off their workers, to reduce costs, now that they have no income.
Some peasants have managed to get their cattle out of the area, but this is not, nor will it be, a definitive solution.
The only thing that would prevent this situation from repeating itself every time the winter season arrives is the definitive closure of the jet which, for the moment, has hundreds of peasants and ranchers living in poverty.
“We are making a call to send us machinery again and thus take advantage of the little summer we have. The solution is to cover those two jets. In Sitio Nuevo we made progress with work last year, but unfortunately the river levels were high and we only managed to cover half of that stream, so we are asking Cormagdalena to lend us the dredger again to do work and be able to cover it as we did in Return Perico ”, insisted the mayor.