Bolivia: Floods Preliminary DREF Final Report, Operation no. MDRBO010

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

A.1 Description of the disaster

The rainy season began as usual in October 2014. Sixty-two per cent of victims were affected by hail and thunderstorms and 37 percent by the rains. Precipitation intensified in the north-eastern areas of the country, especially in northern La Paz, Beni and Pando. On April 15, the National Information System (SINAGER) of the VIDECI reported that the emergency left 32 people dead, 6 missing and affected 120 municipalities in 9 departments; a state of emergency was declared in 39 of the municipalities.

Although nine departments were affected, only two have declared an emergency (La Paz and Chuquisaca) to date. According to the Ministry of Rural Development and Lands (MDRT), hail and frost have damaged more than 13,000 hectares of crops.

The department of Pando located in the Amazon region is the most affected by overflowing rivers, especially the department's capital, Cobija, and other rural municipalities. According to VIDECI, a total of 1,392 families, representing 6,960 people were affected, most of whom were evacuated to 25 collective centres that were set up in stadiums and schools.

A state of emergency has been declared in the municipalities of Filadelphia, Bolpebra, Cobija and Porvenir. Humanitarian needs mostly involve food security, clean water and sanitation, housing and protection in the collective centres.

Educational activities in the capital of Pando have been suspended and health problems are expected to arise. Response is being coordinated by all three levels of the government, which have operational support from the armed forces, police and other local institutions.

During this response period, affected families in Cobija were housed in 24 collective centres According to reports from the departmental, municipal and district Civil Defence emergency operation centres (EOC) a total of 1,022 families (5,000 people) have been provided with shelter .

Municipal and departmental EOCs were activated and the government responded to the emergency. Municipalities have financial resources that have not yet been entirely spent, according to VIDECI. The affected people’s needs are currently being covered with resources from the municipalities and the government, which worked together with the Civil Defence on the evacuations.

As mentioned before, the department of La Paz also suffered from heavy rains; the municipalities in Yungas (Caranavi, Guanay, Mapiri and Tipuani) were particularly impacted. The water volume originated in higher areas such as the city of La Paz, which is located 3,600 m above sea level, causing floods and high river flows that strongly affected communities downstream, the municipality of Mecapaca in particular.

These communities, which depend entirely on agriculture, have had their main source of food and income affected, resulting in a significant reduction in vulnerable families’ capacity to meet basic needs.