A state of national emergency has been declared in several provinces in Bolivia as heavy rain and floods continue.
Following recent torrential rains, the indigenous Amazonian communities where three of our key partners work have been cut off by floodwaters.
Christian Aid is currently coordinating with local communities and partners in the area to respond.
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Men battle against the floodwaters in San Buenaventura, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of Christian Aid partner Practical Action.
The worst flooding in living memory
On Saturday 25 January, heavy rains caused the river Beni to break its banks. The resulting floods and landslides have destroyed thousands of homes and crops and have killed 64 people.
Communities have been completely cut off – in some places the water is chest deep and roads are impassable. Partners are telling us that it is the worst flooding in living memory.
CIPCA's Olver Vaca says that the indigenous communities where we work have been badly hit.
The crops they need to sustain their families, such as yucca, corn and beans, have been destroyed. Although cut off by road, they have been able to communicate by radio.
Homes and roads washed away
The most recent UN figures suggest that over 68,000 families have been affected.
The roads to the indigenous communities where we work have been swept away by the rising river waters.
However, partner Practical Action has received reports from the flooded towns of Rurrenabaque and San Buenaventura, where they work.
In these towns at least 10 people have been killed and 173 families have been evacuated from their homes. Over 30 houses have been completely destroyed and more are at risk of collapsing.
In addition, there is a high risk of dengue fever due to the large amount of standing water.
Christian Aid responds
As part of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, we have coordinated with the Bolivian government to carry out needs assessments and have visited affected communities. Water purification tablets have been distributed by Christian Aid partners as this has been identified as the greatest urgent need until other needs have been assessed.
Our partners CIPCA, Practical Action and Fundación Nuevo Norte have a strong presence in the affected region, with experience in helping communities to respond to emergencies such as flooding.
The ACT Alliance, of which Christian Aid is a member, has launched a US$300,000 humanitarian response focussing on:
water, sanitation and hygiene promotion;
community psychosocial support;
early recover and rehabilitation;
and non-food items, such as shelter, medicines, hygiene kits etc.
Find out more
Donate to our disasters and emergencies fund
Christian Aid in Bolivia