Bolivia

Bolivia: Local church, FHI staff help Bolivia flood victims rebuild

When rain and five feet of hail pounded the streets of downtown La Paz, Bolivia, the world media showed terrifying images of pedestrians swept away and historic buildings collapsing.
The cameras never made it to Tayawinto, however. Here the torrents of water crashing down the Choqueyapu River from La Paz ripped away homes, crops and even chunks of land. Three families in Tayawinto lost all they had.

FHI staff heard about one such family, the Mamanis, through the work of a local Christian group called Amor en Acción. With help from FHI, Amor en Acción took youth from a local congregation , Iglesia Luterana El Redentor, to identify families who needed assistance in the communities downriver from La Paz.

Amor en Acción workers heard that Felipe Mamani, 50, and his wife Francisca Aro, 47, had lost everything in the flood. They were the hardest-hit of all the families in Tayawinto. Felipe and Francisca had moved in with relatives in a neighbouring community but really wanted to return home to their own land -- or what was left of it, since flood waters had completely eroded way three of their five hectares.

Amor en Acción provided the family with food and blankets immediately. Earlier, FHI Bolivia's regional office in Cochabamba had taken up a collection to help storm-affected families. When they heard about the plight of the Mamani family FHI decided to use those funds to help them rebuild their house.

The Mamanis have already replanted what little remains of their fields. Instead of giving up completely the Mamanis have installed a small tube irrigation system to help their crops grow. Felipe and Francisca are Christians and therefore their faith has given them hope to start over again, even after devastating losses.