Bolivia – Hundreds Affected by Floods in Santa Cruz Department

Severe weather, including strong winds and persistent heavy rain from 19 May have affected parts of Santa Cruz Department in Bolivia.

Flooding has been reported in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, affecting over 200 families. In rural areas, the Yapacaní and Ichilo rivers overflowed flooding remote communities in Ichilo Province, Santa Cruz Department.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Flooding was reported in at least 30 neighbourhoods in the city, mostly between Saturday and Sunday, 20 to 21 May, 2017.

Affected neighbourhoods include Plan Tres Mil, Pampa de la Isla, Distrito 12, Parque Industrial, zona del Cambódromo, la Villa 1ro de Mayo and Los Lotes, according to local media.

Disaster management officials say that at least 100 houses have been damaged and over 200 families affected in the city.

Rainfall in Santa Cruz

The National Meteorological and Hydrological Center (SENAMHI) reported that the Santa Cruz Trompillo station recorded 126.8 mm in 24 hours on 20 May and 65.4 mm on 21 May. This is at least twice the amount of rainfall the city would normally see during the whole of may.

The Viru-Viru station in Santa Cruz recorded 103 mm of rain in 24 hours on 20 May and 46.9 mm the next day.

Ichilo Province

Local media say that dozens of families lost all of their belongings and crops in Ichilo province.

One of the worst affected areas if the small town of Puerto Grether (also known as Puerto Gretter) which sits on the border of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba departments.

It is thought that around 100 families have been affected by flooding in the province. However access to other communities has been limited by flooding and full damage assessments are yet to be carried out.

Rivers

Ichilo River at Ichilo reached 13.36 metres on 20 May, jumping from 8.53 metres just 24 hours earlier. Normal level would be around 8 metres, and danger level 13 metres, according to Santa Cruz province water authorities (Servicio de Encauzamiento de Aguas y Regularización del río Piraí – Searpi).

The Yapacaní river at Puente Yapacaní jumped from 1.7 metres on 19 May to 4.86 metres on 20 May according to Searpi. High levels (amber warning) are around 4.50 metres and danger levels 5.5 metres. Normal levels at this time would be around 2 metres.

Levels of the Piraí river have also increased in some areas. At Cuatro Ojos near Sagrado Corazón, levels shave stood beyond the red danger mark (4 metres) for several days and were at over 5.16 metres as of 22 May, 2017.

The Piraí has also exceeded amber or red warning levels at Angostura, Espejos, Puente Urubó (Central) and Puente Eisenhower over the last few days.