Bolivia – La Paz Landslide Leaves 3 Missing and Over 40 Houses Destroyed

Search and rescue teams in Bolivia are still searching for 3 people missing in a landslide that occurred in La Paz on 30 April, 2019.

Landslide in La Paz, Bolivia, April 2019. Photo: Bolivia Ministry of Defence
Landslide in La Paz, Bolivia, April 2019. Photo: Bolivia Ministry of Defence

The Mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla, declared a disaster situation in the areas affected by the landslide, including 14 de Septiembre, Inmaculada Concepción and San Jorge Kantutani. As many as 46 houses have been completely destroyed and 18 more damaged, leaving almost 400 people displaced, according to local media reports.

Bolivia’s Defense Minister Javier Zavaleta said that there are seven rescue groups comprised of about 1,500 personnel, including police, military, firemen, local government officials and civilian volunteers currently working in affected areas, searching for missing people and helping with evacuations and removal of personal property.

Those displaced by the landslide are staying in a temporary camp set up by authorities. Food, blankets and health care are being provided by local authorities and Health Ministry. As of 01 May the number of people in the camp was expected to increase.

The Mayor’s office said the area was previously a landfill site which had become increasingly unstable as more houses were built. Heavy rain in the surrounding hills during the previous week had reportedly created cracks in the hillside, adding to the instability.

Many parts of Bolivia have seen higher than average rainfall during April. SENAMHI, the country’s meteorological agency, 67.8mm of rain fell during April at La Paz El Alto. The April average for the city is around 30mm. More recently, 18.2 mm of rain fell on 21 April, 2019 at the La Paz Centro weather station and 9.8mm on the same day at La Paz El Alto. No figures were available for the weather station La Paz Zona Sur.

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