Dengue fever outbreak in Bolivia
Widespread and prolonged flooding have caused outbreaks of dengue fever in Bolivia after storms caused by the La Nina climate phenomenon.
More than 200 people have caught the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes and exacerbated by wet, warm conditions. Dengue causes a high fever, headache, nausea and weakness and, in some cases, can make bones and joints extremely painful. Recovery can take up to several weeks.
A total of 94 municipalities have been declared a state of emergency, with some Plan areas among those worst affected — Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Potosí.
How is Plan helping?
Plan is coordinating with Emergency Operations Centers at the national, departmental and municipal levels, as well as with other international agencies (including UNICEF, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization), to provide emergency assistance. Urgent needs include better conditions in the shelters, food, medicines, equipment and supplies for schools, blankets, clothes, treated mosquito nets, hygiene kits, and water, water tanks and containers.
Plan has obtained a grant of $73,500 from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and has also applied for a UN Flash Appeal to continue their work with the affected families. Funds will go toward improving conditions at the camps with food supplies, medicines, water and mobile schools for the thousands of displaced children.
Shelters and camps are also being continually fumigated to prevent the spread of dengue or the onset of malaria, and vaccination campaigns are being carried out in some areas, particularly for women and children.
More than 94,800 families are thought to have been affected by the widespread flooding caused by continuing rains since the beginning of the year.
The most critical area is Santa Ana del Yacuma in Beni where the city is surrounded by water and people can only be evacuated by air.
Plan areas affected and their needs:
Santa Cruz — 20,830 families have been affected by the severe weather. So far 74 cases of dengue fever have been reported, with other people suffering from diarrhea, skin diseases, conjunctivitis, and respiratory infections due to prolonged contact with the floodwater. Yet the health service here is keeping the diseases under control and mobile brigades of doctors are traveling to the more remote villages to treat them.
Chuquisca — 9,114 affected families. Damages to crops include potatoes, corn, wheat and peaches. In some places more than 70 percent of agricultural land has been submerged.
Beni and La Paz have also been hit badly by the rains. Trinidad in Beni is on high alert over the number of rats and animals reaching the city to seek dry land. Both areas have also been affected by huge damages to crops and livestock — at an estimated value of $179 million. Camps in these areas are housing approximately 4,500 families.
Plan has been chosen to partner the South American Regional office of ECHO (European Commission Humanitarian Organization) to provide emergency care in Santa Cruz. ECHO will also finance a $250,000 project for the next six months which will provide support in health, nutrition, education and livelihood for families living in shelters or scattered communities.
Donate today to Plan’s Disaster Fund to help provide urgently-needed emergency assistance to families affected by disasters and crisis, such as the devastating flooding in Bolivia.
Information for sponsors
We will of course contact sponsors directly if we receive any news about individual sponsored children. If you are planning a visit or have any particular concerns around this issue, please contact our Donor Relations staff at 1-800-556-7918.
Learn more about Plan's work in Bolivia.