Emergency assistance to the victims of floods and landslides in Bolivia


Location of operation: BOLIVIA
Amount of Decision: EUR 1,000,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/BOL/BUD/2006/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

Bolivia has experienced heavy rainfall since late December 2005. During the first three weeks of January, the rainfall was particularly intensive, producing serious flooding, river overflowing and landslides in six of the nine departments of Bolivia(1). The pluviometry in January exceeded estimations by 145% in the Altiplano area (Andean region) and by 134% in the Chaco region.

According to the national Meteorology service (SENAHMI), the high rainfall trend will continue as it is just the beginning of the rainy season, and extreme rainfall, electric and hail storms are expected for the next months. On the night of 26 January, the Bolivian government declared, by supreme decree, a national emergency situation, and appealed for international assistance. The decree was published and disseminated on 27 January.

First estimations of the National Defence Institute indicated that about 34,000 families were affected by heavy rains during January over most of the northern Bolivian regions, based on data provided by the municipalities.

Floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rains have left at least 17 dead and 79 wounded as of 8 February. The city of Cochabamba has officially declared a health emergency. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is collaborating with the Ministry of Health, in order to carry out activities to control dengue, malaria, yellow fever, etc.

Up to now the final number of displaced people is not available except for Santa Cruz Department where 14,100 people2 have been evacuated to temporary refuges. Almost 2,450 dwellings have been completely destroyed. In addition to the loss of their homes, many families have also lost their crops, which constitute their only source of food and income. Four of the affected departments (La Paz, Potosi, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz) report losses in papas, corn, wheat, soy and rice. In Santa Cruz department, the Eastern Agricultural Chamber reports that 60,000 hectares of soy crops have been destroyed.

Most of the affected communities have experienced damage to major roads and bridges, and/or gas and water pipeline ruptures, causing difficulties in accessing affected areas. Landslides, road obstructions and damage to small bridges have been reported across the country, especially in La Paz, Beni and Potosi departments causing the isolation of several rural communities.


(1) Santa Cruz, La Paz, Potosi, Beni, Cochabamba, Tarija