Nearly 40,000 people affected by floods in Bolivia

"The affected population is living in precarious conditions," stated Silvia Moriana, MSF head of mission in Bolivia. "Shelters need reinforcements and some thinking should be done concerning the families who will soon return to their now still flooded homes. Under the present circumstances, the area must also face the fact that the rainy season has just started and will last until April."
Trinidad (Bolivia)/Barcelona - About 12,000 people are in need of urgent assistance after torrential rains flooded the town of Trinidad, capital of the Beni Province (Bolivia) on January 9, according to the international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The floods have affected more than half of the population in the town, nearly 40,000 people, of whom over 2,000 families (about 12,000 people according to official estimates), mostly women and children, have been evacuated. The local authorities have set up centres and tents, all in all about 30 sites. The number of people sheltered varies according to the site; in some of them, crowding has become a real problem. There is great concern due to the lack of drinking clean water and sanitation facilities in some communities and shelters, in addition to the shortage of medicines in the existing health structures. The precariousness of the situation also touches the families living in the affected neighbourhoods, who have refused to leave their homes and go to the shelters fearing the looting of their homes in their absence. "The affected population is living in precarious conditions," stated Silvia Moriana, MSF head of mission in Bolivia. "Shelters need reinforcements and some thinking should be done concerning the families who will soon return to their now still flooded homes. Under the present circumstances, the area must also face the fact that the rainy season has just started and will last until April." After a first assessment of the situation, MSF is working in the affected area, providing assistance, such as water and sanitation-related activities, to the people evacuated living in shelters. Medicines have also been donated. In addition, the team is working closely with local health authorities to strengthen the epidemiological surveillance network, as the risk of epidemic outbreaks of diseases such as dengue fever is high. Not only is there a need for medicines but also for an appropriate management of the medical assistance rendered. Currently, the presence of other organisations in the area is hardly evident. The Trinidad Emergency Committee, made up of several institutions and organisations, has covered the most basic needs within the extent of its possibilities. However, the Committee has requested support as it lacks the capacity and the budget to adequately deal with the situation.