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Bolivia authorities clash over response to catastrophic rains

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Bolivia authorities clash over response to catastrophic rains

Bolivia’s central government and local administrations are clashing over responses to heavy rains in the departments of Beni, Cochabamba, La Paz and Santa Cruz, which have caused fatalities and destroyed dozens of homes.

To confront the catastrophe more efficiently, the administrations in La Paz and Santa Cruz should take on services the central government normally provides, civil defense deputy minister Juan Carlos Calvimontes was quoted as saying by daily La Razón.

He alleged that Santa Cruz does not have any contingency or flood mitigation plans.

The relationship between the central government and Santa Cruz has historically been tense.

Violent protests started in the department in December after governor Luis Fernando Camacho was arrested on charges related to his alleged participation in the 2019 ouster of then president Evo Morales.

Meanwhile, La Paz’s Yanacachi municipality has spent all its resources on the emergency, daily Página Siete quoted mayor Víctor Fernández as saying.

He also told journalists that four bridges are unusable and destroyed roads were leaving other localities isolated, urging central authorities to send machinery and food. 

The rains have submerged 30,000ha used for soy crops, state news agency ABI reported. Ruling MAS party is studying the creation of special insurance to help agriculture and livestock producers affected by climate change related losses. The insurance would be administrated by agrarian insurance agency INSA, lawmaker Rosario García told ABI. 

The government had previously assigned 62.5mn bolivianos (US$9mn) to maintain the road network during the December-March rainy season. The public works ministry also made 21mn bolivianos available to rebuild homes, according to a press release. 

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