Bolivia – Warnings as River Levels Rise in the South, Flash Floods in La Paz

Intense rain and increasing river levels have been reported in Bolivia since 23 February, 2016. So far Bolivia’s rainy season, under the influence of this year’s strong El-Niño, has mostly been characterised by drought rather than floods.

La Paz

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, a tributary of the Choqueyapu River. Starting at 17:00, intense rain affected the upper part of the urban watershed of Choqueyapu River, with no rain observed in the southern part of the city, where the flood occurred.

Video below courtesy of Andrea Innocenti:

Several roads and bridges were quickly inundated in the Zona Sur, and the Costanera Avenue, the main road linking the city centre and the south district of La Paz, was closed causing issues to local transport.

Bridge topped by the flash flood in La Paz, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of Andrea Innocenti
Bridge topped by the flash flood in La Paz, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of Andrea Innocenti

Bermejo and Ichilo Rivers

On 23 February, 2016, the Municipal Emergency Centre for Operations (Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Municipal – COE) of the city of Bermejo, in Tarija Department, declared a red alert for the increasing levels of the Bermejo River.

On the 24 February the National Service of Hydrology and Meteorology (Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología de Bolivia, SENAMHI) issued a red alert for the increasing levels of the Ichilo River – a tributary of the Mamoré River – in Puerto Villaroel, Cochabamba Department.