Aiding over 28,000 animals after severe floods cause famine in Bolivia

May 16 2018

Following a long period of drought, heavy rains caused severe flooding and mudslides in many parts of Bolivia in February. More than 180,000 farm animals and over 17,000 families have been affected.

A series of disasters (droughts in December, heavy rains in February, landslides in March) in the regions of Chuquisaca and Potosi, have isolated several districts and decimated crops and pastures resulting in a severe loss of farm animals like pigs, cattle, sheep, alpacas, llamas and goats.

A heartbreaking situation for animals

Unfortunately, there have been a large number of animal casualties due to the lack of food and resources.

In what can only be described as heartbreaking, stories of farmers witnessing their animals in peril are common.

One cattle producer we spoke to showed our disaster response team his sick and weak calves, who suffered from fevers and were "dying in his arms."

For many producers and families, these animals are more than just companions, they are their livelihoods.

Emaciated cattle that has been affected by the famine.

The communities' main assets are typically agriculture and farm animals; in fact, their economy is based in trade and agriculture.

Our disaster response team is dedicated to identifying and aiding the animals in urgent need.

Our response

After an initial assessment through our local Disaster Liaison Officer (DLO), our disaster team concluded that animals in the regions of Potosi and Chuquisaca are in most urgent need of food and mineral supplements.

As part of the first phase of our relief work, 28,780 animals in Chuquisaca will be provided with food and minerals.

The food will nourish the animals while the minerals will supplement what they are unable to retrieve from the current pastures and soil due to the flooding.

The emergency relief will sustain the animals for 30 days, after which the pastures should begin to recover.

A farmer and a young goat that have been affected by the floods.

Potosi will be left on standby for a second phase of relief work due to a regional conflict that has made it impossible to safely get into the region.

Chuquisaca, Potosí and Santa Cruz are undergoing a conflict right now over new oil wells that were discovered and the lack of clarity over the city limits. Because of this, everything remains closed and transportation is very limited which has represented serious obstacles to the delivery of the feeds we requested.

The supplies are ready and our DLO on the ground is pushing hard to accomplish the task. Our disaster team hopes that in the next couple of weeks things will calm down and they will be able to start delivering the second phase of relief work. 

It's only thanks to our incredible supporters that we are able to deploy quickly to help animals affected by natural disasters. There are often unexpected challenges in this type of relief work but it's also among the most critical to saving lives and alleviating suffering.

Top image taken in 2010 during a disaster response in the region of Chaco, Bolivia.

For many producers and families, these animals are more than just companions, they are their livelihoods.

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