Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bolivia's unseen disaster

In March last year I blogged on the unprecendented flooding the country was experiencing during El Niño and pointed out that climate change was a problem here and now - particularly in the developing world whose inhabitants have done the least to contribute to its existence.

Well, unfortunately the rains are back again - and this time it looks like the effects could be just as severe as last year, possibly even more so. At the moment it appears that 29,000 people have been effected and there have been 44 confirmed deaths. The most damaged regions are Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, La Paz and Beni (pdf map). President Morales has declared a national emergency and neighbouring countries and the UN are offering assistance.

Last year's toll was estimated at "56 deaths... eight lost people, and 600,000 affected people, as well as losses that are estimated at 443.3 million dollars, four percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, according to the Organization of United Nations (UN)." We have to hope that relief efforts can minimise the harm done to the effected popluation. Although it is southern Boliva that is worst hit, the flooding has also effected Argentina and Ecuador.

Where are the reports in the Western press?
Link: ABI (in Spanish)

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