- Title: Bolivians continue protest over water shortages
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (NOVEMBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** GENERAL VIEW OF PROTEST VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CHANTING (IN SPANISH): "WE WANT WATER", "WATER" AND "WATER IS LIFE, EVO COMMITS HOMICIDE"
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 19:45
- Keywords: drought water shortage demonstration protest Bolivia
- Location: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- City: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Droughts,Disaster/Accidents
- Reuters ID: LVA00159O1ZYB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Bolivians in the south of the capital, La Paz, protested on Tuesday (November 22) night against ineffective administration of water supplies, which they blame for the country's worst drought in 25 years.
Local residents turned out in the streets carrying empty buckets and bottles, and shouting "Water is life, Evo commits homicide", referring to Bolivian president Evo Morales.
Though the government committed to rationing water three days a week each for two hours, several neighbourhoods have gone two weeks with no water.
"I'm tired. Not even the cistern reaches my house," said protester, Fernando Duran.
Morales organised an emergency committee with members of the Armed Forces, which presented a plan for the supply of water to communities most affected.
Speaking among military personnel on Wednesday (November 23), Morales accused people of whipping up negative sentiment and denied responsibility for failing to prevent the shortages.
"It's not possible that some brothers and sisters on social media are trying to create panic and uncertainty now, when everyone must be organised to try and face the problem. For me it's like an earthquake, we did not foresee the lack of water," said Morales.
Critics have questioned the emergency plan as 10 tanks previously used to transport fuel have been brought into the capital to supply water, posing concerns with regards to water contamination and health risks.
The shortages and issues of contamination have also extended to hospitals, where procedures are being limited to emergencies given the lack of clean water.
"If the situation continues this way, operations will only be carried out in the case of extreme emergency, because great amounts of water are used in these procedures," said the director of the Obrero Hospital, Carlos Guachalla.
Extra water tanks were installed at the hospital to store and filter water several times, in order to attend to patients in the most critical situations, including some 250 which require hemodialysis three times per week.
A state of emergency was declared earlier this week- which comes after more than half of the country's municipalities had declared their own drought emergencies, with an estimated 125,000 families affected.
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