Thousands hit by Bolivian floods
February 6, 2008 - BBC News
Severe flooding caused by weeks of heavy rain is now known to have left 48 people dead and some 40,000 families homeless, authorities in Bolivia say.
(left) Some areas have seen weeks of flooding
Two rivers in one of the worst-hit provinces, Beni, have broken their banks and are threatening to cut off the main city in the region, Trinidad. The government has declared a state of emergency and launched relief efforts.
Since November, several parts of Bolivia have suffered floods and further heavy rains are expected. Bolivia is used to seeing heavy rains at this time of the year but officials say the latest floods are particularly bad and could prove even worse than last year.
"We are experiencing one of the worst disasters of the past decade," the deputy civil defence minister, Hernan Tuco, told local radio at the weekend.
Among the worst-hit areas are the eastern provinces of Beni and Santa Cruz as well as Cochabamba in central Bolivia. Several thousand people have been moved from areas at risk in Beni, where the River Mamore has broken its banks.
The provincial capital, Trinidad, is surrounded by a roadway that acts like a dyke protecting the city from floods but there are fears that rising waters could cut the city off.