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Floods Strike North-Central Bolivia
January 15, 2004
Trinidad, Bolivia, January 15, 2004 - Nearly 12,000 people, mostly women and children, are in need of urgent assistance last week after torrential rains flooded the town of Trinidad, in Bolivia's north central province of Beni, according to the international medical humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The floods have affected more than half the people in this town of 40,000, and nearly 2,000 families have been evacuated.
The major problems faced by many are the lack of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, insufficient shelters, and a shortage of medicines in existing health structures. Many people have also refused to leave their homes because of fears their homes would be looted.
"The people are living in a precarious state," said Silvia Moriana, MSF head of mission in Bolivia. "Shelters need reinforcements and families need to return to their flooded homes. The rainy season has also just started and will last until April."
MSF is providing medicines as well as water and sanitation assistance. The team is working closely with local health authorities to strengthen the epidemiological surveillance network because of the high risk of disease outbreaks.
Currently, few other organizations are working in the area. The Trinidad Emergency Committee, made up of several institutions and organizations, has covered some basic needs but has requested support as it lacks the ability to adequately deal with the situation.