Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
ShelterBox has sent aid from its prepositioned stock in Panama to help flood survivors in Bolivia rebuild their lives following relentless heavy rains and mudslides.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes across the northwest of the land-locked Latin American country by widespread flooding; many have also lost loved ones.
‘My daughter and I were nearly dragged away but I managed to escape,’ said one lady to the BBC. ‘That is why I was unable to help any other relatives.’
Santa Cruz, Beni, La Paz and Cochabamba are the regions predominantly affected by the extreme weather. People have lost their livelihoods as crops have been damaged and cattle injured. Sixty percent of the roads are spoiled isolating communities from basic services like food, water and fuel.
‘Sought refuge in schools’
‘Many people have sought refuge in schools throughout the regions, however this has meant that children have been unable to continue with their education as schools have not reopened yet,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Dave Ray.
‘We are working closely with Oxfam in Bolivia, who will be distributing ShelterBox aid on our behalf to help those families in the communities most in need.’
Begin to rebuild their lives
As opposed to sending aid from the ShelterBox headquarters warehouse in the UK, prepositioned ShelterBoxes have been sent from Panama, Central America, enabling the aid to reach the Bolivian communities rapidly and efficiently helping them begin to rebuild their lives.
Bolivia experiences a rainy season at this time of year but this is particularly more intense than previous years. This will be ShelterBox’s fourth response to flooding in Bolivia since the charity’s inception in 2000.