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Brussels, 2 March 2007

Commission plans €1 million emergency response for flood victims in Bolivia

The European Commission is launching an emergency decision for €1 million to help people and communities affected by the latest consequences of the El Niño phenomenon in Bolivia. The worst problem, so far, has been flooding, with 350,000 people and eight of the country's nine departments affected. An emergency expert from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, has visited the affected region, assessing the basic needs of flood victims and liaising with relief agencies on rescue operations to be funded. The emergency funds will be channelled through ECHO under the responsibility of Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

Currently, the most acute humanitarian situation is in the Beni department. Out of a population of 430,000, 130,000 are reported to be affected. More than 14,000 people are displaced in temporary shelters in the capital alone, and this number is expected to increase in the future. The number of people affected is also increasing as the overflow of rivers reaches the Pando department in the north of the country. Relief agencies are experiencing problems in accessing remote areas because of the bad conditions on the ground.

Identified needs so far are emergency shelter, food and basic household items and key services such as water, sanitation and primary health care.

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