LA PAZ – A mudslide caused by heavy rains in the central Bolivian province of Cochabamba killed 14 people, including several children, officials said Monday.
The mudslide occurred on Saturday night in the city of Morochata as a result of the heavy rains that have fallen over the last few weeks and buried a number of homes. Rescue teams are having great difficulty in their search for survivors and/or bodies.
So far, only four bodies have been recovered, one of them belonging to a 4-year-old boy, Morochata Mayor Juan Vegamonte told Erbol radio.
Among those known to have been buried by the mudslide are six other children, the secretary of the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Cinthia Vargas, said.
Rescue efforts have been slowed down because the ground in the area is unstable and new mudslides could occur.
More than 10 families have been evacuated for safety reasons to another community in Morochata.
President Evo Morales traveled early Monday to the area to coordinate the disbursement of aid to the people affected, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said.
The rainy season, which in Bolivia lasts from October to March, so far has resulted in 40 deaths and four disappearances and has affected almost 47,000 families, as well as causing millions of dollars in losses to agriculture and livestock.
The government in late January declared a national emergency so that provinces and city governments could make adjustments to their budgets and more easily access resources to help people suffering property damage.