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Brussels, 4 November 2010

Bolivia: Commission provides €1.5 million humanitarian aid to victims of drought

Today the European Commission has allocated €1.5 million to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by droughts in the Bolivian Chaco. This drought response will be multi-sectoral and will integrate measures reducing vulnerability in future droughts and enhancing the resilience of communities. The operation is expected to help at least 25,000 beneficiaries among rural communities in the affected region.

"Disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction measures need to be mainstreamed as much as possible in all activities, to improve the communities' resilience to future events." said Commissioner Georgieva. "Communities and Municipalities should be encouraged and supported to manage drought during the whole year and not just during its peak. We all know that the climate change will certainly trigger similar crises in the future unless remedial action is adopted. We must try to avoid "repetition" of such crises whenever possible, this will help people to improve their lives instead of having to start again from nothing after every shock."

The main humanitarian and recovery needs that will be covered by this decision supporting subsistence farmers and small livestock producers are:

  • Water: delivery of water trucking, water catchment rehabilitation, water storage facilities and water management training with communities and authorities;

  • Livelihood support: food vouchers, distribution of seeds complemented by rehabilitation of soils and improvement of production and post-harvesting practices as well as distribution of vitamins, salts, veterinary treatments and water, in order to prevent high losses of livestock;

  • Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): apart from contributing to reduce vulnerability among affected communities, the funds will also support specific DRR activities in the promotion of "drought sustainable response methodologies" and strengthening inclusive coordination structures.

DG ECHO proposes not only to address the humanitarian needs unfolding at this critical juncture but also to support recovery and capacity building of communities and authorities to develop more appropriate approaches to deal with recurrent water deficits in order to avoid humanitarian impacts among the most vulnerable populations.


The Bolivian Chaco represents an area of 150,000 square km divided into three Departments: Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca. This area has been experiencing record high temperatures and longer than average periods without rainfall for three consecutive years since 2008. The cumulative impact of drought has reached its most critical level of affectation in the 2010 dry season and is seriously impacting on human population, livestock and agricultural activity, generating emergency humanitarian and recovery needs.

The projects funded under this humanitarian decision will be implemented by ECHO partners with experience in the Bolivian Chaco and that work closely with local stakeholders in the affected area. Since 2008, the Commission has given more than €5 million in aid for the victims of the humanitarian crises in Bolivia, excluding today's contribution. DG ECHO has intervened previously in the Chaco region both with response (Small Scale Disaster) and Disaster Preparedness (DIPECHO) projects.

For information on Commission's humanitarian aid:

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