LA PAZ – The Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, the largest and most populated in the country, dawned on Tuesday under heavy rains that lasted several hours and flooded a number of streets, damaged roadways and inundated homes, though for the moment no fatalities have been reported.
The secretary of citizen security for Santa Cruz province, Enrique Bruno, told the media that the rains affected the routes to “municipalities near the city of Santa Cruz” with mudslides and damage to the asphalt on the streets.
Intense rains began falling on the Amazonian city, economic capital of Bolivia, before dawn Tuesday, according to weather reports cited by the Santa Cruz provincial government, and which led the National Meteorology Institute to declare an orange alert.
The neighborhoods hit hardest are those on the east and north sides of the city.
Santa Cruz Public Works Secretary Hugo Sosa told the media that the work of repairing the affected inter-municipal thoroughfares would not begin until the rains stop.
First reports about the effects of the flooding were announced in the early hours with accounts of vehicles being swept away and totally destroyed by the floodwaters, and the overflowing of drainage channels that flooded many streets.
Meanwhile, floodwaters filled the city’s underpasses, leaving some vehicles submerged inside them, and a public transport bus stuck in a roadside gutter after sliding off the road.
Bolivia’s Rural Development Minister Cesar Cocarico told the media that while the city has problems, the situation “does not extend to all of Santa Cruz province.”
The city remains in an emergency since forecasts indicate that the rains will continue all day Tuesday.