La Paz – The Bolivian government has secured international aid and is working to help the approximately 34,000 families affected by floods across the country, officials said Tuesday.
The eastern and western portions of the Andean nation have been pounded by heavy rains over the past three weeks that have wiped out crops, washed out roads and flooded 77 communities in the provinces of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Beni and Cochabamba, Civil Defense officials said.
Bolivian officials have secured nearly $3 million so far in foreign aid, with the Andean Development Corporation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) contributing $400,000 to help families affected by the floods.
The IDB will disburse another $2.5 million in reconstruction funds for communities damaged by the floods.
The governments of Venezuela and Japan are also contributing to the aid effort, with Caracas sending provisions for some 10,000 families.
President Evo Morales met Monday night with representatives of 55 aid groups and foreign governments to discuss aid for victims of the rainstorms.
Morales plans to fly over the affected areas Tuesday to get a firsthand look at the damage, especially in eastern Bolivia, where farmers lost part of the soy crop when the Grande River swelled its banks.
The international aid provided to Bolivia will be distributed by the U.N. Development Program to en-sure that it gets to the people it was intended for, officials said.
Bolivia's national weather service is forecasting more rain for the flood zones, with drier conditions not expected until the second week of February. EFE