Record rainfall hits southern Bolivia, affecting 50 000 people

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Local authorities in southern Bolivia declared a state of emergency for parts of Gran Chaco province in Tarija Department after record rainfall hit the region causing floods. Beni, Cochabamba and Tarija departments are among the worst affected by rain and flooding.

After days of heavy rain, the flooding was reported in areas around Zacuiba, Camiri and Villamontes in Gran Chaco provice. As reported by the FloodList, record rainfall hit the city of Yacuiba on Sunday, January 28, 2018, flooding roads and isolating 15 communities. At least 3 houses were destroyed, although full damage assessments are yet to be completed.

“Yacuiba recorded 98.2 mm (3.86 inches) of rain in 24 hours to January 26. Then record rainfall hit 2 days later when the city saw 194.2 mm (7.64 inches) of rain in 24 hours to January 28, beating the previous high of 178 mm (7 inches) set in 1985. The rain continued with a further 48.2 mm (1.89 inches) falling in 24 hours to January 31. In Villamontes, 177.1 mm (6.97 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours to January 29,” FloodList’s Richard Davies said.

Flood aftermath in Bolivia – January 2018. Credit: Government of Bolivia

Approximately 50 000 people in 7 departments were affected by different types of weather events, Bolivia’s Deputy Minister of Civil Defence, Carlos Eduardo Brú, said. “Rains, floods, overflows, hail, electrical storms and landslides among others,” he told reporters, according to Agencia Boliviana de Información (ABI), the government press agency.

This severe weather event also damaged 12 045 hectares (29 763 acres) of crops and damaged 102 homes.

“These figures show us that we are entering a state of alert and there is still more rain and that is what worries us,” Brú said.

Featured image: Flood aftermath in Bolivia – January 2018. Credit: Government of Bolivia

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