Okinawa I (Bolivia), (EFE).- The rains and floods recorded in Bolivia in recent days have so far left two people dead and more than 5,000 families affected, the Vice Minister of Civil Defense, Juan Carlos Calvimontes, reported on Tuesday.
The government official offered these data to the media during the delivery of aid material to 500 affected families in the municipality of Okinawa I, in the eastern region of Santa Cruz, where floods and river overflows also damaged agricultural crops.
One of the deceased was reported in the north of the department of La Paz and the second in the municipality of Yanacachi, in the province of Sud Yungas in La Paz, and both “are already registered as two people who died as a result of the floods,” he said.
As for the families affected, Calvimontes initially said that there are more than 5,200, although later, in another event in the municipality of San Julián in Santa Cruz, he updated the figure to 5,509 family units “that have suffered” due to the floods throughout the country.
One of the communities affected by the floods in Okinawa I is Rancho Chico, invaded by the overflow of the Pailón River and flooding as a result of the intense rains that have fallen in the area for a week.
Until the day before, the water was in the surroundings of the community, but on this day it began to move towards the houses, Marisela Cuéllar, a resident of Rancho Chico, told EFE.
“Too much water is coming, it has been raining for a week, but the water has not arrived and it has already begun to enter the houses,” said Cuéllar.
The community will need food above all, since its inhabitants live by working in the fields, but they have not been able to carry out their activities because the crops are flooded, he commented.
Okinawa I is one of the municipalities in northern Santa Cruz most affected by the floods, which have damaged 80% of their crops, its mayor, Rubén Darío Mercado, explained to EFE.
For now, some 8,000 damaged hectares have been quantified, including soybeans, rice and sugar cane, Mercado indicated.
“The most affected is soybeans because rice lasts more than three days, soybeans two or three days and then it is scrubbed,” he explained.
According to the mayor, there are six to seven communities that are “surrounded by water.” The most affected are Junta Pailón, Villa Reyes and Nueva Aurora.
He also thanked the help provided by the national government and the deployment of health personnel from the regional government in the area.
Okinawa I is one of the eight Bolivian municipalities that have received support from the national government so far and will soon reach others, such as San Ignacio de Moxos, in the Beni Amazon region, Calvimontes said.
So far, 4,975 families have received 140 tons of humanitarian aid consisting of food and clothing such as boots and ponchos for water, among others, with an investment equivalent to about 135,600 dollars, he said.
He also pointed out that the agricultural production of the Santa Cruz municipalities of Okinawa I, Cuatro Cañadas and San Julián has been “almost destroyed”, so heavy machinery will be used to help the waters go down and “try to save some crops” and cattle and enable some local roads.
For his part, the country’s president, Luis Arce, participated in the delivery of aid in San Julián and carried out overflights in Santa Cruz to “quantify the damage and generate concrete actions for the benefit of the affected families,” according to what he said on Twitter.