Thousands of flood victims in Bolivia need immediate assistance: UN

9 March 2006

More than 1,000 Bolivian families affected by flooding need immediate food assistance, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today, highlighting an emergency that has affected almost 30,000 people.

According to the latest reports, OCHA said that 23 persons have died because of the floods, which started in January following intensive rainfall, while over 9,000 families have been evacuated and almost 13,000 people need humanitarian aid.

OCHA cited reports of recent floods and ice storms in different regions of the country, with the most affected areas situated in the south of Pando Department and in the north of Beni Department along the rivers Beni, Madre Dios and Orthon.

“Up to 1,200 affected families need immediate food assistance along the rivers Beni, Madre Dios, and Orthon in rural areas. This figure might grow to 1,800 families according to Emergency Operations Centre,” OCHA said.

The Civil Defence, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Bolivian Red Cross have distributed food and relief items to 1,800 families in Beni and WFP will work together with local partners for further distribution of food as required.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in coordination with the Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is also providing schooling support for children at the San Julian shelters. Immediate support is also required to prevent the spread of diseases, OCHA said.

In January, intensive rainfall caused severe floods and flash floods in several parts of the country, with the rainfall over most of northern Bolivia far exceeding the historical average. As a result, the highlands and most of the rivers of the Amazon basin overflowed, leading the Government to declare a national emergency and authorizing authorities to appeal for international assistance.


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