LA PAZ – At least six people died, 13 were injured and about 35 are missing in flooding that hit the southeastern Bolivian province of Chiquisaca, the governor of that region, Esteban Urquizo, reported Sunday.
The river running through the Molle Punku valley swept away a truck and a passenger bus on Friday night near the municipality of Tarvita, as they were traveling from the city of Sucre, Bolivia’s constitutional capital, to the town of Pampa Huasi, where on Saturday an agricultural fair had been scheduled.
Urquizo told state-run Patria Nueva radio that the two vehicles were very close to one another and stalled in the middle of the river when they were swept away by rising waters from a heavy rain- and hailstorm that had hit the area a few hours earlier.
Preliminary reports received by the governor said that bodies “without heads, without legs” had been found in the river, where about 100 local residents and police have been searching for both survivors and the dead.
According to statements by survivors cited in the Sucre press, a group of people left the vehicle in the hope of getting to the riverbank but they were the first to drown, although the others managed to swim to shore.
Urquizo asked the national government to send a helicopter to fly over the region to try and find other survivors, but he said that he understood that Civil Defense personnel were focusing on operations in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, where last week a building collapsed and so far nine bodies have been recovered from the ruins.