Landslide in Bolivia: so far 81 houses have collapsed

David Dickler
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author’s alone.

 <!– World Vision Bolivia –>

The major earth slide occurred in La Paz has so far caused the destruction of 81 houses and left around 400 people with nowhere else to go but a couple of improvised tents installed by the municipal government. No people have been reported dead or injured so far. “I got to my house at 7:30 pm and I saw people evacuating from the area, carrying bundles of clothes, furniture, domestic animals, electric apparels and anything they could save before their houses crumbled down”, says Ramiro Butron who has a 5 year old child and is now living in a tent. 

The damage to the landscape and houses is considered the worst in the area during this year and predictions say that land will keep shifting during this week and might inflict more loses to neighbors. At some places the terrain has been raised to up to 4 meters causing houses to crack down. “Everything started slowly and suddenly you could hear a cracking noise, like trees when falling, and the floor underneath first showed some cracks and than rose up leaving us with just enough time to escape from our falling house. When the dust cleared it seemed as if somebody had pushed the top of the mountain down (…) I came to the refugee settlement with my 3 children and a niece who lives with me because her parents passed away. I fear my remaining belongings are lost because looters have been seen scouting the area for anything they can get their hands on” mentioned Katya Delgadillo, mother of 3 children, who is also living at the refugee settlement. 

The Response: The families that have been displaced are currently receiving shelter, food, mattresses and blankets from governmental institutions, Civil Defense and the UN. World Vision’s Humanitarian Affairs team has been deployed at the site and has so far helped with: – Hygiene Kits – Water cans to store drinkable water – Portable toilets – Portable showers – Cooking pots to prepare meals at refugee settlement – Kitchenettes and gas canisters to cook meals at refugee settlement So far the help has reached a total 1.000 US$. 

Still, basic services such as electricity have been cut off to prevent major damage to the system or fires caused by short circuits. People at the camps have been told that their situation could go on for up to 3 months until a solution is found and new housing for them is constructed at nearby areas. The affected area remains constricted because of fear of new earth movements and collapsing houses. People are note being allowed to retrieve their belongings such as warm clothes to spend the night. Temperatures in the area have been known to go under 0 C� and blankets provided are not sufficient to keep people warm. “Last night we couldn’t sleep because we were so cold, some people were even covering themselves with nylon sheets, I am lucky I could pull out a bed before my house collapsed buy most people or sleeping on mattresses over the floor”, comments Lady Querallata (18) who also fled from her house along with her mother. 

Urgent needs are: – Fresh food such as vegetables and meat – Warm clothes for adults and children – Mattresses and blankets – Gas canisters for cooking

Source: World Vision Bolivia

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