LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales headed on Thursday the operation to deliver aid to families affected by the flooding of a river in Tupiza, a city near the border with Argentina.
Some 50 homes were damaged and Morales promised local residents to rebuild them.
The president said that one man lost his life in the western Potosi region when he was surprised by floodwaters while working in the fields.
“What’s being experienced in the city of Tupiza is of great concern,” Morales told state-run media, confirming that 45 homes were affected.
He said that one of the main requests being made by local residents is for heavy equipment to alter the river’s flow and to rebuild homes.
“We’ve decided that we’re going to build houses ... so that those families can rest easy,” said Morales at a press conference after inspecting the area.
The president traveled to southern Bolivia – after saying he would not attend several government events scheduled for this week in Oruro – to deliver four tons of food, water and tents, among other aid.
The river overflowed on Wednesday morning, causing considerable damage to dozens of homes, many of which collapsed, thus forcing the evacuation of the families living there.
One of the local residents told reporters that nothing like this had been seen “in 25 years” in the area and that the local authorities had done little to install barriers along the banks of the river to prevent flooding.
The government has warned that water from the country’s higher elevations could flow into the livestock-raising areas in eastern Bolivia in the coming weeks and called on cattle growers to transfer their herds to higher ground.