Bolivia – Heavy Rain Continues – More Floods and Landslides Hit La Paz and Cochabamba

Heavy rain that began in late February has resulted in several overflowing rivers and landslides in northern and central Bolivia.

La Paz Department

As a result of the heavy and prolonged rainfall that has affected the north of La Paz Department since Monday 29 February 2016, several municipalities of Valles, Sur and Nor Yungas are suffering damages and transport communications issues after increased river levels in the region.

According to local authorities, the Quita Calzón River in Apolo municipality overflowed, affecting a significant part of the town and causing major damages to 30 houses. Several landslides interrupted the communication route connecting Apolo to the Titicaca Lake borders, causing issues to local public and private transport.

Intense rainfall events also occurred in the Eliodoro Camacho province of La Paz. Escoma, on Lake Titicaca, suffered the overflow of the Suches River on Sunday 28 February 2016. The inundation affected 70 hectares of agricultural cultivation, ruining the harvest and causing serious problems for an area characterised by subsistence farming.

File photo: Rio Suches, Camacho, Bolivia. Photo: Canaviri, under CC BY-SA 3.0
File photo: Rio Suches, Camacho, Bolivia. Photo: Canaviri, under CC BY-SA 3.0

The prolonged rainfall continues to increase the soil saturation, leading to several hydro-geological problems. After the landslide in Jupapina of Saturday 27 February, another one occurred on Sunday 28 February in Achocalla Municipality, between La Paz and El Alto, affecting 3 houses.

A torrential rainstorm hit the city of La Paz on the 24 February 2016, causing a flash flood resulting in the overflow of the Huayñajahuira River.

Cochabamba Department

The heavy rain of late February caused several rivers to significantly increase their levels in the north of Cochabamba Department.

According to departmental Civil Defence authorities of Cochabamba, rain caused major inundations in Puerto Villaroel municipality in Carrasco Province, affecting up to 30 local communities, and a total of 600 families. Due to the flat morphology of the region, some areas are under 1 to 2 metres of flood water, and communication routes linking to these local communities are suffering major issues.

In Arani Province the recent torrential rain caused flooding in several areas, affecting as many as 500 families and seriously damaging 30 hectares of agriculture cultivations.

On 03 March, 2016, the National Service of Hydrology and Meteorology (Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología de Bolivia, SENAMHI) issued a red alert for intense rain (up to 90 mm in 24 hours) expected from Saturday 05 March to Monday 07 March 2016 in the north of Bolivia, including the areas in La Paz and Cochabamba Departments already affected by floods and landslides.

Rainfall

 Caption NASA's IMERG data collected from Feb. 23-29, 2016, were used to estimate rainfall totals over this area of South America. The highest rainfall total estimates for this period were over 700 mm (27.6 inches). These extreme rainfall total estimates were shown east of the Andes in southeastern Peru and Bolivia. Credits: ASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Image Credits: ASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

NASA’s IMERG data collected from February 23-29, 2016 were used to estimate rainfall totals over this area of South America. The highest rainfall total estimates for this period were over 700 mm (27.6 inches). These extreme rainfall total estimates were shown east of the Andes in southeastern Peru and Bolivia.

Flood Summary

Last updated: July 15, 2016
Event
La Paz and Cochabamba, Bolivia, February to March 2016
Date
February 28 to March 3, 2016
Type
Inland flood, Landslide, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Apolo, La Paz, Bolivia
B - Escoma, La Paz, Bolivia
C - Achocalla, La Paz, Bolivia
D - Puerto Villaroel, Cochabamba, Bolivia
E - Arani, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Magnitude

River level
Overflowing
Quita Calzón River in Apolo Municipality, La Paz Department - February 28 to March 2, 2016
River level
Overflowing
Suches River, Eliodoro Camacho province of La Paz - February 28, 2016

Damages

Buildings damaged
30 buildings
Apolo Municipality, La Paz Department