April 17 2007
Children in flood-hit Bolivia continue requiring aid
17/04/2007 - Children are among the most vulnerable victims of the devastating floods which hit Bolivia's Amazon plain almost two months ago. SOS Children's Villages continues helping in the Santa Cruz and Beni districts, and is operating a day-care centre for children from the worst-affected families.
Approximately 400,000 people have been affected by the worst floods in Bolivia in 25 years and most have lost all of their possessions. In Trinidad, the capital of the Beni district, an estimated 40% of the flood-hit victims are children under the age of twelve.* These children are mostly still living in unhygienic makeshift shelters alongside the motorways, or in provisional shelters set up in public schools.
Children and their families still require aid and the longer they continue living in such devastating conditions, the greater the risk of family disintegration. SOS Children's Villages continues helping under the motto "families help families" and is also operating a day-care centre for children from the worst-hit families in Trinidad.
Around 120 children under the age of ten are participating in this day-care programme which includes health services, four nutritious meals per day as well as educational and recreational activities. The centre is opened ten hours a day and is run by fourteen co-workers of SOS Children's Villages and two facilitators from the local prefecture.
"The day-care centre is providing assistance to children from 480 of the worst-affected families. These are families with working parents who have no one to care for their children during the day, as well as large families with many small children," said Guido Pecho, director of the SOS Children's Village in Santa Cruz, adding that a second day-care centre will be opened shortly in Trinidad.
In close cooperation with local authorities, SOS Children's Villages has also been providing emergency parcels to the neediest families in the Beni district. These parcels include oil, milk, rice, cereals, noodles, beans and canned goods, as well as hygiene items, medicine and school books.
SOS Children's Villages operates nine children's villages, as well as several other social and educational programmes for children and families in need throughout Bolivia. The organisation's projects in the flood-hit districts of Santa Cruz remained largely unscathed by the natural disaster and all continue to operate normally.