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Saturday, March 25, 2017
CAFOD pledges support for flood-hit Bolivia
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¬†CAFOD has pledged to support some of the 100,000 people in need of food and shelter following severe flooding in eastern Bolivia. The Bolivian government has declared a national disaster after exceptionally heavy rainfall affected large parts of the country's lowlands, causing an estimated £18 million worth of damage. More than 60 people have been killed and thousands more have been forced to flee their homes. Many families' crops and livestock have also been destroyed. The Catholic aid agency has pledged £10,100 (US$20,000) to help those affected by the disaster and its partner organisation CENDA (Centre for Andean Development and Communication) is distributing food and medicine to 1,685 families in one of the worst-affected areas. Karen Luyckx, head of CAFOD's Bolivia office, said: "We are doing all we can to help people affected by the floods. It is vital they get emergency supplies until longer-term government aid arrives. "Our support will ensure that people in the San Pedro municipality of Santa Cruz (in the eastern lowlands) are well-nourished and ready to start rebuilding their homes and their shattered lives when the flood-waters recede. "Because local governments in Bolivia have little experience of dealing with emergencies, CENDA is also helping the San Pedro municipal government make a thorough assessment of the damage. This will ensure that families who have lost their crops and homes in this area are included in a national rehabilitation and reconstruction plan." The floods have led to a temporary truce between Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, and the vociferous opponents to his progressive reform programme which has included nationalisation of the natural gas sector and the introduction of a new constitution giving Bolivia's majority indigenous population more rights. Ms Luyckx added: "As Bolivia unites to deal with this humanitarian emergency we hope the international community will continue to lend its support to the poorest and most unequal country in South America in this time of need." More than 42% of Bolivians live on less than £1 a day and in rural areas the situation is even worse, with nearly three out of five people living in extreme poverty Thanks to the generosity of its supporters in England and Wales CAFOD, which has worked in Bolivia for 20 years, was able to donate £215,000 to its Bolivian partner organisations in 2006-07. The agency opened its first office in South America, in the Bolivian capital La Paz, earlier this month in order to be able to respond quicker to humanitarian disasters and support its partners on the ground.
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