Bolivia: Chaco emergency report for OCHA - Dec 2009

Situation Report
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Since January 2009 a serious rainfall deficit occurred in the Chaco region resulting in a critical drought. WFP Bolivia in coordination with other UN agencies (such as FAO, UNICEF, OCR) and governmental institutions (such as the Civil Defense) undertook since then two assessments in July and November 2009.

The period in which the drought began early this year was crucial for the agricultural production because it is the time when the main staple crop, maize, demands a minimum level of precipitations to give fruits. In many regions within El Chaco, the drought had serious food-security related consequences on the livelihoods of affected population.

Maize is not only the most important food directly consumed by families but also the main source of income since it is the main cash crop and also the food for major and minor cattle.

In this sense, the drought affected negatively the agricultural productivity, families' income generation opportunities and their Food Access Capacity.

July Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) took place with the objective of estimating the situation and the magnitude of the effects of the drought on the food security in the households of the affected areas in the departments of Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca.

More specifically the aim was to identify:

- an estimation of the population affected by food insecurity

- risks for life and means of life

- causes of food insecurity

- intervention priorities and possible measure to overcome the problem