April 2 2007
More emergency aid is needed for flood-hit Bolivian families
02/04/2007 - More than a month after the worst flooding to hit Bolivia's Amazon plain in a quarter of a century, it is estimated that approximately 900 tons of food per month are needed for some 17,000 families in the worst-affected rural districts of Santa Cruz and Beni. SOS Children's Villages continues to provide aid in the form of food parcels and day-care centres for children.
"The neediest are still living in terrible conditions on the sides of motorways. They cook and spend their time there in very crowded and unhygienic conditions."
"Unlike those who have found shelter at various schools, those living in makeshift shelters alongside the motorways have no access to sanitation, potable water, safe shelter or public health," said Enrique Aguirre, the deputy national director of SOS Children's Villages in Bolivia.
A large majority of the 30,000 flood-hit families have lost all their possessions, and the longer they continue living in such devastating conditions, the greater the risk of family disintegration. SOS Children's Villages continues providing aid to the worst-affected families with the aim of ensuring that they remain united, which is why SOS Children's Villages has named its emergency efforts "families help families".
In coordination with local authorities, SOS Children's Villages has provided 1,000 emergency parcels to the neediest families alongside the motorways in 13 neighbourhoods of the Beni district so. These 1,000 aid parcels included 15 tons of food such as oil, milk, rice, cereals, noodles, beans and canned goods, as well as hygiene items, medicine and school books.
Half of these parcels were financed by SOS Children's Villages in Bolivia, while the rest was financed with donations received by a solidarity fundraising campaign launched by the organisation in Santa Cruz shortly after the disaster struck. SOS Children's Villages is preparing further parcels which will be distributed in the flood-hit areas of the Santa Cruz district.
In addition, SOS Children's Villages is operating various day-care programmes for children of the worst-hit families in the Santa Cruz and Beni districts, providing protection and education. In Trinidad, the capital of the Beni district, 120 children are already attending this day-care, while a further 350 children are expected to join within the coming days.
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.