Inundaciones en Bolivia

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Como consecuencia de eventos climáticos relacionados con el fenómeno El Niño, Bolivia sufrió en el periodo enero-marzo de 2007 importantes inundaciones, riadas, heladas y granizadas que afectaron a los departamentos de Beni, Santa Cruz, La Paz, Chuquisaca, Tarija, Potosí y Cochabamba, con fuertes precipitaciones y desborde de los ríos que destruyeron cosechas, dañaron viviendas e interrumpieron carreteras. Los últimos datos facilitados por la Defensa Civil (junio de 2007) indican que a nivel nacional, se contabilizaron 103.595 familias damnificadas, fallecieron 50 personas y más de 366.094 hectáreas de cultivo fueron afectadas. Se produjo el desplazamiento de miles de personas hacia albergues temporales, que no siempre reunían las condiciones de higiene básicas para sostener a los desplazados.
Estos eventos, en asociación con las condiciones de vulnerabilidad social, saneamiento inadecuado y la disminución del acceso a agua segura, incrementaron el riesgo potencial epidémico de algunas enfermedades, como las enfermedades diarreicas agudas (EDAs), infecciones respiratorias agudas (IRAs), dengue, malaria, leptospirosis, fiebre amarilla, enfermedades de la piel, conjuntivitis y problemas de salud mental.

Bolivia’s health sector developed a response plan and received generous international support to expand assistance to the disaster victims. Aid included providing shelter, health services, drinking water, and food. The U.N. System in Bolivia made a flash appeal for humanitarian assistance in response to the events. The appeal includes a broad set of activities for health care, disease prevention, and health promotion. These include monitoring health risks in shelters, supplying medicines, monitoring water quality, hygiene education, control of vectors, and other post-disaster activities.

More than a year ago, the municipality of Trinidad—the capital of the department of Beni—worked on a project to strengthen the local health sector’s ability to respond in a disaster. Because certain measures were in place at the time of the floods, local authorities were better able to coordinate the different actors responding to the disaster.

This emergency highlights weaknesses in coordination and certain technical activities. For example, donation and supply management and damage assessment are two critical processes that require prior coordination and preparation among institutions. Understanding and standardizing these tools and procedures can increase the efficiency and quality of the response.
The Bolivian government requested the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to carry out an assessment of the impact of these floods. ECLAC estimated that damage to the health sector amounted to US$ 6.8 million. Their report states that 99% of these costs were unanticipated and accrued during the emergency phase (emergency response, provision of safe water, epidemiologic surveillance, vector control, medication and supplies, etc.). One percent of the costs were for impacts on the physical infrastructure of health facilities. The report can be consulted on the ECLAC website: www.eclac.org/mexico/.
In June 2007 there are still flooded areas in Beni. The health sector continues to work (with the support of PAHO and a variety of donors) in different activities in the most severely affected areas to improve and strengthen access to health services, water, and sanitation and to improve the quality of life in the most vulnerable communities. For more information, please contact: Esta dirección electrónica esta protegida contra spambots. Es necesario activar Javascript para visualizarla .


Preparativos para Situaciones de Emergencia
y Socorro en Casos de Desastre

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