Many hours before dawn on February 17, the rains began in the rural Ichilo Province of Bolivia. The rain came hard, and steady, and did not abate for 15 hours. By 10:00 am, the Yapacaní and Ichilo rivers that lend their names to the region, had reached their highest levels. The Yapacaní river had reached 4.15 metres, four times its usual height. The Ichilo had swollen by an extra metre. Several neighbourhoods flooded. Chalice Ukraine regional support

“The panorama is dramatic,” writes Olga, Chalice’s Yapacaní site coordinator. Neighbours were being evacuated in boats, while others had to swim in the streets, which had transformed into rivers.

At least six neighborhoods of the municipality were underwater. Local authorities organized temporary shelters in two schools for the affected families. Volunteers and municipal officials formed rescue groups to evacuate families – starting with children, mothers, the elderly, and animals. Thanks to their rapid response, no fatalities from the disaster have been reported so far. But many families, sponsored and non-sponsored, have been displaced.

The following day, February 18, the Chalice Yapacaní site staff visited the affected areas and tried to check on sponsored families. All these families live in precarious conditions. Their houses are wooden, do not have doors or windows, and their roofs are made of permeable materials such as palm fronds or, in better cases, sheet metal. In some houses, the water line came above their windows. Some were still surrounded by water.

The site staff estimate that 90% of the families sponsored through Yapacaní site have been affected. But throughout the day, they identified 47 sponsored children from two neighborhoods whose families have lost most of their possessions and food, whom the staff evaluated as most vulnerable.

Back at the site office, the staff created a plan to best support the 47 families in most urgent need. They created a budget to support each family with two weeks’ worth of non-perishable food, mattresses and bedding, fabric protectors, and hygiene items. The grocery hampers will include staples such as rice, noodles, cooking oil, canned tuna, and powdered milk. The staff also wanted the families to have a supply of insecticides and repellents, since the department of Santa Cruz is under a red alert for the dengue epidemic. Stagnant water for several days after the flood will contribute to the proliferation of the larva of the mosquito that transmits dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The Yapacaní site is requesting funds of $11,718.98 CAD to provide these immediate needs for 47 affected families. The site office launched a local campaign to replace the children’s clothing and school supplies.

Budget in Canadian Funds: $11,718.98 CAD
Project Code: DF BYY0223

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