Bolivia: Avalanche Information Bulletin No. 1/03
On the morning of 31 March in Chima, province of Larecaja in the department of La Paz, an avalanche occurred after heavy rains, burying 400 houses and affecting approximately 700 families.
Chima is near to Tipuani, the sixth section of the province of Larecaja in the north east of the department, 300 kilometres from La Paz. Access is possible by road only and, from La Paz, it takes between 14 and 20 hours to reach the area. Chima has an estimated population of 9,321 (1998 census), and poverty levels stand at 89 per cent. Given difficult access to the area and its remote nature, details relating to the disaster are sketchy.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
The Bolivian Red Cross through its headquarters and its branch in La Paz, plans to carry out a damage and needs assessment, provide first aid and distribute relief goods. The National Society has been ensuring coordination with the Civil Defence in La Paz, which has mobilized a team to survey the area. Further details related to initial findings of the assessment team are awaited. Red Cross personnel left for Chima on 1 April and hope to reach the affected area on 2 April. Difficulties in transporting relief goods are being solved, since access by truck is impossible as a result of the difficult terrain. The Bolivian Red Cross will assist 400 families with the provision of 400 blankets and food supplies (19 kg) of rice, sugar, noodles, cooking oil and salt.
A balance of DREF funds from the Federation has been allocated to the Bolivian Red Cross operation; these funds remain from the hail and rainstorms operation carried out in Bolivia in January 2003. The Spanish Red Cross has transferred USD 3,000 of emergency funds, ensuring emergency assistance over an initial 48 hour period to 400 affected families. The German Red Cross has expressed interest in providing support once results of the damage and needs assessment are available.
The Bolivian Red Cross hopes that within five or six days following the damage and needs assessment, it will be possible to provide funding to assist with rehabilitation needs.
The Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) and the regional delegation in Lima are providing support and are monitoring developments.
Once further information is available as teams reach the area hit by the avalanche, additional details will be provided.
For a full description of the National Society profile, see www.ifrc.org
For further details please contact :
- The Bolivian Red Cross in La Paz;
Phone; 591 22202934 Fax 591 223 59 102 email email@example.com
- Olaug Bergseth, Federation Desk Officer, Phone 41 22 730 45 35; Fax 41 22 733 0395; email firstname.lastname@example.org
For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.