Response to Landslides in Bolivia

Bolivia: Towns Destroyed in Seconds by Landslides, ADRA Responds

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Weeks of heavy rains triggered massive landslides, destroying hundreds of homes in the capital city of La Paz, Bolivia. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is on the ground, distributing emergency supplies to families now homeless.

ADRA’s response is targeting the region of Kupini in eastern La Paz, an area that has experienced considerable destruction in light of the recent landslides. As part of the intervention, ADRA will distribute non-food items to over 230 families, approximately 1,150 individuals. Each family will receive a hygiene kit composed of toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, feminine supplies, and deodorant. Additionally, ADRA will provide these families with water bottles and blankets. ADRA’s distribution is targeting female-headed households, families in shelters, and families with two or more children.

Heavy mud and debris swept over the steep hills of La Paz, destroying approximately 800 homes in a 200-acre area. A cemetery situated along a hillside has been divided in two, with one half now several stories below the remaining half. According to ADRA Bolivia, some residents were fortunate enough to flee their homes with few belongings before the landslides occurred.

ADRA Bolivia has been in communication with Bolivia’s Emergency Operation Center to coordinate emergency response efforts. The scale of the devastation prompted the Government of Bolivia to declare a state of national emergency on February 23. With the assistance of local church volunteers, ADRA Bolivia will procure items for distribution, package the kits at the local ADRA office, and deliver the emergency kits at various distribution sites.

La Paz, considered a landslide hotspot in South America, is situated upon steep slopes covered by unstable debris shed by the Andes Mountains. Weeks of intense rains throughout February and early March saturated the ground, thereby weakening the structural integrity of several hillside towns. The intense rains are a characteristic of the climate phenomenon, La Niña, which is considered as the cause for the recent landslides that are being called the worst in La Paz history.

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