June 20, 2013 – Drought Kills 102 in Bolivia: Bolivia has declared a state of emergency following a nationwide drought. Pictured above, the Pampa in Bolivia. The Pampas (meaning “plain”) are fertile South American lowlands, covering more than 750,000 km2 (289,577 sq mi), that include the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Córdoba, Chubut, most of Uruguay, and the southernmost Brazilian State, Rio Grande do Sul. These vast plains are a natural region only interrupted by the low Ventana and Tandil hills near Bahía Blanca and Tandil (Argentina), with a height of 1,300 m (4,265 ft.) and 500 m (1,640 ft.) respectively.
So far the drought has killed at least 102 people, affected 16,900 families, more than 48,000 heads of cattle, and 86,452 hectares of land. Damaged crops include soy, corn, and peanuts.
The state of emergency will allow the Civil Defence and municipal government’s access to funds of around US$2.6m to address the situation.
Bolivia’s defence minister, Rubén Saavedra, explained that the state of emergency was declared on the recommendation of National Council for Risk Reduction and Disaster Attention and Emergencies on the basis of a report that assessed the effects and damages incurred so far.
The departments of Tarija, Chuquisaca, and Santa Cruz have all passed decrees to the same effect, in line with the decisions already made by the governments of affected municipalities.
The Vice President of the Civil Defence meanwhile has activated a contingency plan to deal with the situation, most importantly to address the following issues: potable water for human and animal consumption as well as feed for livestock.
For the last three weeks Bolivia’s population has suffered the devastating effects of a radical change in the local climate, with plummeting temperatures in the West, and intensifying heat in the East adding to existing pressures.
The meteorological phenomenon known as La Niña is thought to be responsible for the volatile climate. (Credits – The Argentine Independent).
The Master of Disaster