April 22, 2020

Cerrejon commited to food and nutritional security in indigenous communities

Cerrejón is continuing in its efforts to support communities during the evolving situation in La Guajira resulting from the COVID-19 quarantine measures. While strictly maintaining distancing and hygiene protocols, over 359 communities received 25,000 baskets containing food and hygiene products to alleviate the impacts of restrictions on the local economy, and the Cerrejón Foundation partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to implement a program based on a central premise of food and nutritional security while focussing additional resources on the improvement of the longer-term productive capabilities of 17 vulnerable communities in the municipalities of Maicao, Uribia and Manaure.

Supplementary to donating medical supplies to regional health centres, personal protection items are being distributed locally and more than two million litres of potable water has reached to vulnerable communities in the region.

Food baskets or ‘mercados’ have been distributed among ethnic communities, reaching 45,000 people. Along with the delivery of food baskets, health and hygiene recommendations are offered in Wayuunaiki to raise awareness of personal actions that should be taken to minimize the risks of transmission. The partnership between the Cerrejón Foundation and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) includes a pledge of US$ 242,237 (COP 964 million) to strengthen the traditional Wayuu productive systems and restore these agrarian livelihoods when national restrictions are relaxed. During the health emergency, monthly deliveries of food vouchers will be made to nearly 2,800 people in communities near the railway line which connects the mine to Puerto Bolívar. Once this critical period in containment passes, the programme will concentrate on working with these communities to promote sustainable agricultural practices.