Bolivian Red Cross on alert amid protests

News and Press Release
Originally published
by Ana Rosa Boyán in La Paz, picture by Mario Marca

Angry political protests, which have brought the city of La Paz to a standstill over the past couple of weeks, have prompted the Bolivian Red Cross to call a national state of orange alert.

Given a deterioration of the situation last week and following an evaluation of the events, the Bolivian Red Cross headquarters and La Paz branch mobilised staff and volunteers to provide immediate first aid relief in case of any possible emergency.

Rubén Gonzáles, head of the national Emergency Relief Unit, stated that a departmental contingency plan was under way and that the Head Office was in constant communication with branches throughout the country. Meetings with other institutions are also taking place to determine the roles each will play.

Contact with the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Lima is likewise being maintained.

Gustavo Sotillo, a volunteer from the Bolivian Red Cross La Paz branch in charge of emergency relief, stated that all the branch's volunteers had been called upon and that they were carrying out two shifts: from 10 am to 2 pm and from 2 pm until 6 pm, each shift team being supported by three ambulances.

All Bolivian Red Cross emergency teams have been correctly identified and are fully equipped to deal with typical first aid cases, such as asphyxia due to tear gas and wounds caused by violent confrontations and projectiles.

Abel Peña y Lillo, the President of Bolivian Red Cross, said that while such events continued to occur, Red Cross volunteers would continue to be on a state of alert, evaluating the situation daily in order to be prepared for any emergency.