LA PAZ – Around 12,000 families in six of the nine regions of Bolivia are affected by weather phenomenon El Niño since November.
Over 50 municipalities in the regions of Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Potosi, La Paz, Oruro and Santa Cruz have witnessed hailstorms, droughts and overflowing rivers, Vice Minister of Public Defense Oscar Cabrera told EFE on Monday.
Around 35,000,000 square meters (8,650 acres) of agricultural crops in these regions have also been damaged, he added.
“The forecast for the next few months is that there is going continuous rainfall and that implies that we are going to be dealing with emergencies such as floods, on one hand, and probably dealing with reports of droughts, on the other,” he explained.
To address the situation, the Bolivian government in early December passed a plan to tackle the effects of the El Niño with a budget of $21.5 million.
Five ministries and the National Fund for Productive and Social Investment will coordinate the actions along with the Vice Ministry of Public Defense.
Bolivia has also stored 315,000 tons of maize, rice and wheat to mitigate the effects of the climatic phenomenon that is expected to continue causing droughts and strong rainfall in several parts of the country until February.
The El Niño phenomenon raises equatorial water temperatures in the Pacific leading to, among other effects, intense rainfall in some places and droughts in others, as well as heat waves or cold waves, depending on the geographical area.