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Bolivia launches emergency plan against floods

La Paz, Mar 12 (Prensa Latina) The Government of Bolivia launched an emergency plan,valued at 43 million bolivianos (six million dollars), in areas affected by floods in the municipality of La Paz, according to official sources.

The project has 64 units of heavy machinery and more than 1,600 people involved in cleaning and prevention tasks, President of Bolivia Luis Arce stated on social networks. Seven thousand gabions (welded rectangular cages or boxes made out of low-carbon stainless steel or iron wire or mesh and filled with stones to avoid landslides and protect against possible water erosion) will also be built and installed.

On Monday, the Ministers of Defense, Edmundo Novillo, and Health, María Renée Castro, together with the Vice Minister of Civil Defense, Juan Carlos Calvimontes, explained the details to the residents of the Gramadal area, one of the towns most affected by the floods, mudslides and debris drift.

Novillo expanded on the plan, in which the national government, the departmental government, the Mayor’s Office of La Paz, the Armed Forces and the Police are taking part, and announced that they will proceed to “clean up all the debris (…), rehabilitate the roads and put basic services into operation, such as water, electricity, sewerage and guarantee permanent medical care.” He also explained that the plan has an execution horizon of 60 days, during which work will be done with heavy machinery and technical personnel to rechannel rivers and build defensive walls.

In turn, Castro reported that brigades from the Ministry of Health have been deployed in affected areas, while the departmental Government assumed the commitment to guarantee personnel to assist at emergency health centers 24 hours a day, and the Municipal Mayor’s Office will supply the medicine. “As a national government, we are going to continue with the mobilization of our brigades, our tactical backpacks, our equipment so that we are permanently at different points with the respective medical care,” she expressed.

Calvimontes estimated at 51 the number of fatalities, the majority of them in La Paz, and 43,571 families affected throughout the country.

Rapid response teams with ambulances, medications, and mental health professionals remain active providing timely medical attention to the impacted families.

The emergency measures are being implemented after the La Paz Mayor’s Office declared an emergency and red alert on Monday, after overflowing rivers flooded houses over the weekend, causing landslides, slopes, and the collapse of roads.

jrr/llp/lam/jpm

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