Bolivia – 6 Dead as Severe Weather Triggers Floods and Landslides

Severe weather including lightning strikes, heavy rain and hail storms has affected several departments in Bolivia since 11 January 2020, with at least 6 fatalities reported.

Floods in Tarija, Bolivia, January 2020. Photo: Secretary of Environment of Tarija

Chuquisaca Department

In Chuquisaca Department, a storm and heavy rain caused the Quirpinchaca river to overflow, flooding several districts in Sucre City from around 13 January. Over 60 families were affected. Media reported 1 person died as a result of flooding and 2 others as a result of lightning strike during the storm.

La Paz Department

A state of emergency was declared in 3 municipalities of La Paz Department on 14 January after torrential rain triggered flooding and landslides. Flooding was reported in areas of Guanay, Mapiri and Sorata municipalities. Media said 3 people died after a building collapsed in Sorata. Several roads are impassable after landslides in the area.

Cochabamba Department

A hailstorm from 11 to 12 January caused damage in Arque Municipality, Cochabamba Department, affecting 60 families.

According to National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (Senamhi), the Chapare river in Chapare province, Cochabamba, was above red alert level (highest level), standing at 10.07 metres as of 17 January, 2020.

Senamhi recently issued warnings for rivers in other departments, in particular in Beni and Pando in the north.