UN appeals for $18 million to help Bolivian flood victims

UN appeals for $18 million to help Bolivian flood victims

The United Nations’ humanitarian wing has appealed for more than $18 million to provide relief to 300,000 Bolivians needing urgent assistance in the wake of deadly floods, mudslides and landslides.

Heavy rains have pummelled the Andean country since last November, claiming at least 52 lives and causing some communities to lose their livelihoods and income for the third year in a row, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

All nine departments in Bolivia have been affected, but the department of Beni, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz are considered the worst off, with tens of thousands of hectares of arable land lost to flooding and landslides.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said the most vulnerable segments of a community are always the hardest hit by a natural disaster.

“We cannot predict when a disaster will hit, but when it does, we must mobilize resources and efforts to ensure that aid reaches those affected without delay,” he said.

The money raised in this ‘flash appeal’ will be used to provide food, shelter, fresh water, sanitation, essential health care and other basic items and services, while assistance projects in agriculture, education and child protection will also be funded.

Over $2.2 million has already been granted from the world body’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support life-saving activities across Bolivia, leaving $16 million to be funded through the appeal.