LA PAZ – Three people died over the weekend in Bolivia’s Potosi province when a river swollen by torrential rains overflowed its banks, sweeping them away, police said Monday.
The three people, one of whom was a child, died Saturday when they were swept away by the Pecoya River while washing clothes, the police search and rescue unit told the official ABI news agency.
The storm victims’ bodies were recovered and a wake was held in Betanzos, a city located about eight kilometers (five miles) from the river, whose residents called police Sunday after finding the bodies.
Bolivia’s Andean region, the central province of Cochabamba’s tropical zone and the Amazonian province of Beni have been especially affected by rains and flooding caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.
The El Niño phenomenon, the chief cause of climatic variation on our planet and which occurs at intervals varying from three to six years, consists of a shift in the location of high- and low-pressure centers around different areas of the Pacific Ocean, which, in turn, causes a significant rise in water temperature and the alteration of jet-stream currents.
On the Pacific coast of Latin America, these effects bring an increase in rainfall of differing intensities depending on the place.
In northern Peru, for example, rain can increase by a factor of 25, as happened in 1983 and 1998, while in Chile’s central region the increase is less pronounced and sometimes nonexistent. EFE