According to SOS Children's Village co-worker Fernando Espinoza in Bolivia, yesterday's hail storm inflicted considerable damage on La Paz, which is located 3,620 meters above sea level, and left many dead or injured. At least 50 people have been reported dead and over 100 injured so far.
The storm started at approximately 3:15 p.m, when hail stones and rain suddenly began to pour down on the Andean town. Numerous streams, which had suddenly accumulated an unusual amount of water, soon burst their banks. Before long, an immense amount of water was rushing through the city, bringing down houses and covering everything with mud. "It was simply unbelievable - the river was carrying trunks, cars, animals, and people," reported a desperate father looking for his two children.
Except for one of the SOS Youth Facilities, where water ran into two bedrooms without causing any damage, SOS Children?s Village La Paz, the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School and the SOS Vocational Training Centre in the Mallasa district have not been affected in the catastrophe. These facilities are located on a hill, which provides a natural defence against floods.
SOS Children's Villages Bolivia has already contacted the local authorities to evaluate the extent of the disaster and, if required, respond fast to help children in need.