UN rushes urgently-needed aid to flood-ravaged Bolivians
According to the UN Emergency Technical Team and the World Food Programme (WFP), major rivers such as Rio Grande and Pilcomayo have overflowed and as a result, seven of the nine departments comprising Bolivia have been affected. In the remaining two departments, preventive evacuation has already begun.
The Bolivian Government has declared a state of emergency, as flooding has caused landslides and road obstructions, cutting off some rural communities.
Bolivia’s rainy season extends from November to March, and the El Niño phenomenon is at the root of the especially harsh rain and resulting floods. The Bolivian National Meteorological Service forecasts continued heavy rains until the end of February.
“The UN is helping the Government of Bolivia to respond to recent floods and landslides in that country,” the spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters today.
The Emergency Technical Team has assisted in coordinating efforts between the Bolivian Government and humanitarian agencies on the ground.
WFP has teamed up with DRIPAD, a Bolivian Government institution promoting rural integration, to distribute much-needed food assistance to families in four of the seven departments impacted by flooding.