- Title: BOLIVIA: Evacuations begin in flooded Bolivian city
- Date: 3rd February 2010
- Summary: TRINIDAD, BOLIVIA (FEBRUARY 01, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VICTIMS IN TENTS
- Embargoed: 18th February 2010 12:00
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVA4VU7SMABW06QNYXOWSJCE8KPW
- Story Text: Civil defense teams have begun to evacuate parts of the Bolivian city of Trinidad on Tuesday (February 2), after a state of emergency was announced in several regions by President Evo Morales.
Eleven people have been killed across the country and more than 100,000 people have been displaced by the floods across the country.
Trinidad, in the department of Beni, has been particularly hit hard.
Many of Trinidad's residents, like Helena Saucedo and her two grandchildren, have set up makeshift homes above the waterline.
"They need to help us. We need water because this water is no good for drinking," said Saucedo.
The city is surrounded by flood barriers, but officials said they have not been enough to keep the water out.
"Rivers like the Grande, Mamore and Ibare Rivers are on red alert. They have risen over 50cm (20 inches). It is slowing flowing out into Trinidad. We are going to help with the evacuation and to save human lives. At this moment when are in the second stage of the emergency plan," said Civil Defense Vice Minister Hernan Tuco, in the capital La Paz.
The state of emergency applies to the departments of Beni, La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca, but could be extended in the following days.
Environmentalists say that deforestation is to blame.
"There are many causes of flooding. I believe that one of the major causes is deforestation. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. More than half of its territory is covered in the Amazon rainforest and the figures of deforestation according to the REDESMA [Amazon Survey] show that 320 square metres of forest are destroyed per person per year. That is 20 times more deforestation that in Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia," said Daniela Leyton, president of the Mother Earth Bolivian Group.
Bolivia is hit by torrential rainfall each year from November through to March.
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