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National Disaster Declared as Conditions Worsen; As Many as 350,000 Affected

Contact: Rachel Wolff, 253-815-2072, 253-394-2214, World Vision relief staff in Bolivia are available for interviews.


LA PAZ, Bolivia, Mar. 2 /Standard Newswire/ -- The worst floods to hit Bolivia in decades have destroyed 70 percent of the country’s crops and left the country in immediate need of food. Christian humanitarian agency World Vision has been assisting more than 20,000 Bolivian families in the hardest-hit central region by providing medicine, medical supplies, clothes, temporal shelters, water purification systems and tablets, as well as hygiene and school supplies to children.


“What we’re facing now are possible secondary crises in health and food security that could keep Bolivia in disaster mode for a couple of months,” said Francois de la Roche, World Vision Regional Director for Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs.

At least 38 people have died in the disaster and 90,000 remain stranded in the worst-affected Beni province alone. Up to 20 percent of cattle in the flooded areas have drowned, resulting in a serious risk of waterborne diseases due to floating carcasses contaminating water sources. Access to flooded communities remains a serious challenge with floodwaters expected to remain stagnant for several more weeks in some areas. Deteriorating conditions prompted President Evo Morales on Wednesday to officially declare a national disaster.


Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with 67 percent of the population living in poverty. Average annual income is US $960. In addition to the current flooding crisis, the eastern, southern and western regions of the country are experiencing a drought that could affect an additional 300,000 people.


World Vision has been active in Bolivia since 1965 and has long-term development projects in health and hygiene, nutrition and education. In addition, U.S. donors sponsor nearly 21,000 Bolivian children through World Vision. World Vision estimates its relief response will last 3-6 months, followed by a program to address food insecurity.


World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit