Urgent Aid for Bolivia
Since December, rains have already caused 51 deaths and have affected more than 400.000 people in Bolivia and they are expected to continue until the month of April.
According to experts, due to the climatic phenomenon of El Niño, during January and February it has rained 43% of the total amount that is usual for the whole year. Farmers say that 12.000 sugar cane hectareas are at risk which would mean the loss of around 23 million dollars.
Eight out of the nine Departments are in alert. Infections such as "dengue" have started to show. In addition to destroyed crops, people are witnessing the loss of their cattle. Infrastructures and machinery are destroyed and homes and schools completely flooded. Thousands of children have not been able to start school and "even if the school year is stretched, it will be difficult due to flooding and the changes in school calendars" says Salomón Vargas, director of El Deber newspaper. Instructions were given to school headmasters in those schools where there are no lessons to continue extra curricular activities with the children so they may continue studying. According to the Emergency Operations Centre, 40% of the affected are boys and girls under 12.
Help is needed now!
Fe y Alegría, our local partner in Bolivia, tells us that the first phase of emergency aid for displaced people and family reunion is ending. Reconstruction will now follow.
We need your help urgently: Banco Santander 0049 0001 59 281003456
Mid term aid.
The consequence of El Niño will be poverty increase in the most deprived country of South America. Therefore it will be necessary to reorganize school and community education. This task will have to be undertaken in the mid term and the support of the international community and civil society is essential.
Testimonies from Bolivia
Sonia Paz, Fe y Alegría-Bolivia:
El Niño has caused many disasters. It has left many families roofless and many children cannot stand on firm ground, they are on water. Their food is the same water where you find dead animals. Soon, the waters will descend and illnesses will start.
The Eastern Departments of Bolivia, Beni and Pando are the most affected by the floods. They are low lands, rich in cattle. However in the West, which is the Bolivian “altiplano”, draught is causing disaster. Crops like potatoes, onion etc, basic products in poor areas inhabited by peasants, have been lost. Shortage of meat and agricultural products is beginning to show in cities, such as La Paz. The roads that join our cities, especially in the East, have been destroyed. There are many lorries with products stranded, and this is also a very difficult problem.
We know through the news that around 70.000 families have been affected throughout the country. Regarding the children (13.000 attend Fe y Alegría schools) lessons have not yet begun because schools are being used as hostels for many families.