LA PAZ – Scores of indigenous Siriono people from eastern Bolivia whose communities were devastated by floods are camped out at a stadium in La Paz seeking help.
“We are asking the people of La Paz for food. We need school supplies because classes are starting already,” a leader of the group, Fernando Dicarere, told EFE, adding that the length of their stay will depend on the response they get to their appeals for aid.
Small children are among the 160 people who have come from the villages of Ibiato and Pata de Aguila, which together have a total population of more than 300.
As the water continued to rise, the villages saw their crops submerged and their livestock drowned.
It could take as long as three months for the water to recede, another Siriono leader, Erick Sandoval, told EFE.
Each day, contingents of the Siriono hit the streets in search of aid donations, while a group of women remain behind in the stadium to prepare meals.
The defense minister, Javier Zavaleta, said in response to reporters’ questions about the Siriono that the government will evaluate their situation and assist “in so far as they are disaster victims.”
The Siriono have come to La Paz because city residents demonstrated solidarity on the occasion of previous indigenous marches in 2011 and 2012.