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The Drivers of Child Mortality During the 2012–2016 Drought in La Guajira, Colombia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Diana Maria Contreras Mojica



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The Wayuu community constitutes about half of the population of La Guajira, Colombia. This department is a semi-desert zone. This ethnic community has always been able to cope with the water scarcity of the region. Nevertheless, the el Niño phenomenon in 2012 triggered a drought that was extended until 2016. The average rate of child mortality per municipality between 2012 and 2015 reached a point of 26.52 out of 1000. We found that there is a strong relationship between the average rate of child mortality, the amount of indigenous population, the level of illiteracy, the lack of health insurance and the number of elderly people and that these factors influence in the child mortality in an 85 percent. We want to highlight the plausible case of extinction of the Wayuu community in Colombia owing to their exposure to extreme climate phenomena, bad water management in the case study area, and socio-economic vulnerability, resulting into food insecurity and undernourishment. This paper concludes with a set of recommendations to improve the water management in the region, reduce the food insecurity and support existing and promote new strategies for adaptation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Contreras D, Voets A, Junghardt J, Bhamidipati S, Contreras S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Disaster Risk Science

Year: 2020

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Pages: 87-104

Online publication date: 19/02/2020

Acceptance date: 01/11/2019

Date deposited: 20/02/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2192-6395

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s13753-020-00255-0


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