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The Success of Humanitarian Aid to Bolivia

With an estimated 59 percent of its population living in poverty, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. Combined with its vulnerability to severe weather, humanitarian aid to Bolivia is essential.

Due to its high plateau 3,000 meters above sea level and valleys at mid-altitude with tropical plains, Bolivia experiences a diverse climate. This kind of diversity creates risk for weather events such as floods and droughts. In Bolivia, approximately four out of ten people live in flood-prone places. Upwards of 16 percent of the entire population living in areas that are at risk for droughts.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The weather conditions of Bolivia have made its rural population vulnerable. The FAO works with Bolivians to help reestablish their livelihoods and increase their resilience to weather disasters. FAO focuses on establishing a strong disaster risk management program that includes early warning systems. This would warn Bolivian residents before disasters strike.

The FAO is also restoring embankments that will be built at two meters from the surface of the earth. This sole infrastructure would survive two severe disasters (floods or droughts) at different times throughout the year.

Additionally, FAO is helping individual families and farmers. For struggling families, the FAO is providing animals to struggling families to establish herds and the production of protein because animals are often essential for vulnerable families to make a living.

For farmers, FAO is distributing species of seeds such as rice, maize, beans and cassava in order to establish a routine crop production. With FAO’s direction, farmers will practice post-harvest conservation. This way, farmers decide what seeds are the best for sustainable production in the years to come.

World Food Programme (WFP) Providing Humanitarian Aid to Bolivia

Throughout the years, the WFP has been a crucial example of the success of humanitarian aid to Bolivia. Specifically, WFP contributed necessary emergency aid after a severe drought in the Bolivian Chaco and the Southern region of Cochabamba. It provided humanitarian assistance to approximately 10,000 families, or 50,000 people, for six months.

The interventions took place across 12 districts in the four most damaged areas. Food and work were provided as well as vouchers for work. The main goal of this assistance was to restore the food security to the families that were vulnerable because of the post-flood conditions.

Given that this country is so prone to floods, droughts and other severe weather conditions, humanitarian aid to Bolivia is essential in order to sustain living conditions and the livelihoods Bolivian residents. Although weather conditions are constantly proving to be unpredictable and dangerous, the assistance that Bolivia receives helps keep the country resilient regardless of the struggles it faces.

– McCall Robison

Photo: Flickr