Bolivia: under pressure due to floods and overflows

According to official reports, more than 50,000 people can now be considered victims

Bolivia: under pressure due to floods and overflows

Several departments of Bolivia are on orange and red alert for heavy rains, which have caused flooding, landslides and overflows throughout the country, and which have already killed at least 13 people and left another 50,000 in condition of victims.

"The country is on alert for the rains, there are floods and overflowing rivers, in places like Tupiza, Villamontes, Guanay, Vinto and others, I have instructed Civil Defense and the Armed Forces, to take the necessary measures to safeguard, over everything, the lives of the people", President Evo Morales said, from his official Twitter account.

A first evaluation delivered by the ministers of state, indicated that at least 13 people have died so far, because of electric shocks in the rural sector or landslides. This figure could continue to increase in the following days, since more heavy rains are expected, which have been reported by the National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (Senamhi).

The overflow of the Tupiza river, of the Bolivian city that bears the same name, has been one of the most serious events that the storm has left in the Andean nation. According to reports given by the local authorities, two people died during the flood of Tupiza and another 47 families would have lost their homes completely, when the force of the flow, which reached in some parts seven meters high, devastated walls, foundations, waxes, appliances, and pets.

Disaster attention teams also indicated that some 1,000 people were left in the condition of victims in Tupiza and another 50,000 citizens would be affected in the rest of the country.

Four months of intense rain

The rainy season in Bolivia usually lasts from November to March. This year, seven of the nine departments of the country -Chuquisaca (southeast), Cochabamba (center), Santa Cruz (east), La Paz (west), Tarija and Potosí-, have been heavily hit, registering floods, landslides and overflows of rivers that have even prevented the transit of vehicles in some sectors.

The areas most affected by the storm limit Paraguay and Argentina, and despite the fact that warnings have been issued about possible new overflows, it is not known until now that preventive evacuations are being carried out in the sectors under risk. However, the Minister of Defense, Javier Zavaleta, announced the shipment of four tons of humanitarian aid, for the more than 1,000 affected by the overflow of the Tupiza River.

The Bolivian authorities have had difficulties to reach the most affected sectors of the country, due to the poor state in which most of the roads are caused by the rains. For his part, President Morales announced that he will suspend his agenda of activities to visit the region hit by the overflow.

During the last months Bolivia has had to face enormous paralysis by demonstrations, hunger strikes and civil strikes of various social sectors, protesting against the new Penal Code that the government of Evo Morales wanted to impose. The head of state left the controversial Code of the Penal System without political effect, but the protests continue, now against the indefinite re-election that he intends to install as agent chief executive.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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