Bolivia

ACT Alliance Alert: Bolivia Floods and Landslides (30 April 2019)

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BACKGROUND

Heavy rains have affected different regions in Bolivia. Overflowing rivers and floods have been reported in Alto Beni, Palos Blancos, Guanay, Rurrenabaque, Riberalta, Villa Montes, Cutaiqui, San Borja and San Buenaventura. According to the Ministry of Defense reports, 79 municipalities (of 338 in the country) are under a state of disaster and 25 are under a state of emergency as of April 8. A total of 47,125 families suffered partial loss of assets, 23,683 families have been left homeless, 34 people were reported dead and 26 people are missing. The Government has reported that the greatest number of victims are found in Potosí, La Paz, Chuquisaca, Beni, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba - more than 70,000 families affected between February and April. Major damages include loss of crops, housing and other assets. The rains that have been falling since the beginning of the year, influenced by the El Niño phenomenon, have caused different degrees of impact. On 2 and 3 of April, heavy rains affected areas between the departments of Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz, affecting 3,059 families in two municipalities in Monteagudo and Cami. The Bolivian Government declared a national emergency on 27 February, and on 10 April declared an emergency for the departments of Potosí, La Paz, Chuquisaca, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.

NEEDS

The intense rains and flooding have affected different sectors at multiple levels. Initial assessments at the local and national levels have identified the following:

Health: The rising waters of the Parapeti and Sauce rivers flooded homes, caused the collapse of local water systems and affected families' basic hygiene services, which has resulted in some isolated cases of diarrheal illnesses. Local health centers were also flooded, mainly in Camidi. Twenty-three urban and rural health posts have suffered damages, affecting health care provision to the public. Based on the impact of the health centers, it is planned to provide first aid and/or referral of cases. There are no preliminary reports on acute diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections or other diseases.

Shelter: The mud dragged by flood waters affected homes made of adobe, brick or mixed materials and to a lesser extent those made of wood or lighter materials. As a result, these families had to be evacuated to safe areas or municipal or local collective centres.

Water and Sanitation: Local governments provided bottled water to families living in areas affected by mud, which also caused the local sewer system to collapse for four or five days, considering that water sources had been polluted by floods and were deemed unfit for human consumption (especially in rural areas).

Livelihoods and Food Security: Intense rains affected maize, bean, potato, citrus and vegetable crops in several localities, as these amounts of rain are unusual in these areas. Families also lost food stored inside their homes or in local production storage sheds, as well as household and other non-food items.