Rains in Bolivia kill 52, affect 68,000

17:16, March 03, 2011      

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Intense rains and the overflowing of rivers in Bolivia killed 52 people and affected the lives of some 68,000 this year, according to an official report Wednesday.

"La Nina has damaged many regions in Bolivia. So far, there are 52 deaths and 13,765 affected families, or some 68,000 victims estimated by five people per family," said Hernan Tuco, Bolivian Civil Defense Vice Minister.

According to the report, the most affected departments are La Paz, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Oruro, Potosi and Beni.

In Cochabamba, more than 20 rural towns were flooded, leaving more than 6,000 people homeless.

Most of the victims were affected by river overflowing after the rains, the minister said.

The Bolivian government on Feb. 22 declared a state of "national emergency" due to the severity of the disaster.

The National Contingency Plan La Nina 2010-2011 of the Defense Ministry gave priority to the most vulnerable municipalities and allocated a budget of about 20 million U.S. dollars.

Affected families were assisted by emergency services with food, medicine, mattresses, clothes and blankets, Tuco said.

Disaster-relief work was done cooperatively by the authorities and international rescuers, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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