Disasters & Accidents

Heavy rains in Bolivia leave 2 dead, crops in ruins

Okinawa I, Bolivia, Feb 7 (EFE).- Two people have been killed and more than 5,000 families affected by heavy rains and flooding in Bolivia, the country’s deputy minister of civil defense said here Tuesday.

Juan Carlos Calvimontes provided those figures to reporters while delivering aid in Okinawa I, a town in the eastern region of Santa Cruz, where rain-swollen rivers have damaged 8,000 hectares (nearly 20,000 acres) of soy, rice and sugarcane.

Both of the fatalities too place in the La Paz region, he said.

Residents of the Okinawa I neighborhood of Rancho Chico watched with concern Tuesday as floodwaters from the Pailon River crept closer to their homes.

“It was raining a week ago, but the water wasn’t reaching us. It’s now begun to enter the houses,” Marisela Cuellar told EFE.

The most urgent need in Rancho Chico is food, as the inhabitants’ fields have been flooded.

More of the 80 percent of the crops in Okinawa I have been damaged, according to Mayor Ruben Dario Mercado.

“The most affected is soy, because rice can endure more than three days. Soy two or three days and then it spoils,” he told EFE, expressing gratitude for the assistance received from the national and regional governments.

Nearly 5,000 families have received 140 tons of humanitarian aid consisting of food and other necessities, such as boots and ponchos, Calvimontes said.

Authorities are bring in heavy machinery to pump out the water and “try to save some crops,” he said.

President Luis Arce accompanied a shipment of relief supplies to San Julian, Santa Cruz, and surveyed the region from the air to appraise the damage. EFE gb-jct/dr

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