Drought in Bolivia affects more than 200,000 families

La Paz, Oct. 16 (EFE).- The Bolivian government reported Monday that 200,871 families have been affected by the drought ravaging several departments, some of which have declared a state of disaster or emergency.

The vice minister of civil defense, Juan Carlos Calvimontes, said that Oruro has declared a state of “disaster,” while the regions of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca have declared a state of “emergency.”

“We are concerned about the behavior of other departments that have not made any declarations yet,” he noted.

Calvimontes said that the disaster in Oruro shows it does not have the means to deal with the drought. At the same time, the other regions do “have economic resources” to face the situation.

Additionally, the Vice Minister explained that 144 of the 336 municipalities in Bolivia have declared a state of disaster, most of them in La Paz (53) and Cochabamba (28), which are not in maximum alert, and Santa Cruz (12), which still hasn’t declared the emergency.

In addition, another 151 municipalities in different regions of Bolivia are in a state of emergency, according to the government.

The department of Potosi “has not declared a state of emergency or disaster,” Calvimontes said. However, its capital has the minimum water supply, and the situation in the countryside is critical.

The government has activated an “immediate response plan” to face the drought, aimed at guaranteeing the liquid “for human and animal consumption and production,” said the vice minister.

Calvimontes explained that the plan consists of sending different tankers according to the needs of each municipality, distributing water purification tablets to affected families, and installing water filters in schools and medical centers.

The government has about 17 million dollars (16.1 million euros) to deal with emergencies caused by the drought, Calvimontes said.

Bolivia has been facing an intense drought for several months, affecting much of its territory and threatening water supplies in some cities, while in the countryside, water is scarce for livestock and food production.

The lack of rain has also affected Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest lake at 3,800 meters above sea level, which a few weeks ago registered its historic minimum.

The drought has accelerated the melting of glaciers, one of the country’s primary sources of fresh water, prompting some experts to warn that the water crisis could affect food supplies in the coming months. EFE


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