Follow us on:   

Bolivia combats drought
June 19, 2013, 4:45 am

Thousands have been displaced by the drought, the government says [Getty Images]

Thousands have been displaced by the drought, the government says [Getty Images]

The Bolivian government on Tuesday discussed whether to declare a state of national emergency due to drought in the departments of Chuquisaca, Santa Cruz, Tarija and Cochabamba.

(Bolivia is divided into nine departments, which are further divided into provinces)

The drought has caused the loss of 84,000 hectares of crops and affected 16,000 families.

Deputy Minister of Civil Defense Oscar Cabrera said this week that a state of emergency would be based on the evaluation of conditions in Bolivia’s Chaco region; the National Council for Risk Reduction, Disaster and Emergency Management would have a final say on the matter.

So far, the government has earmarked 18.5 million Bolivianos (about $2.67 million) for humanitarian aid to municipalities that have no sufficient resources to handle the disaster, and announced the amount could increase if a state of national emergency is declared.

The government also has activated an emergency plan to help affected families and prevent further loss of livestock, as well as peanuts and corn crops.

“To date, we have 16,000 families affected in the Bolivian Chaco region in Chuquisaca, Tarijo and Santa Cruz, and 226,000 head of cattle as well as 806,000 hectares of crops are at risk,” Cabera said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, six departments mainly in the south and the west have been affected by low temperatures. In the departments of Oruro, Potosi and La Paz located on the high plateau, as well as the valley regions Tarija, Chuquisaca and Cochabamba, frosts have caused crop losses, added Cabera.

“We are ready to take concrete actions and attend to the families affected by the frosts. We have already delivered seeds to some farmers,” Cabera said.

The local governments in Tarija and Santa Cruz plan to declare state-wide emergencies, regardless of whether a national emergency is declared.