Hundreds homeless in Bolivia

Many missing following landslide that destroys hundreds of homes

BY TRAVIS DUNN | BALTIMORE | April 1, 2003


A landslide at a gold-mining settlement in Chima, Bolivia, killed at least two people March 31. One initial report had the death toll as high as 10.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said April 1 that at least two people were confirmed dead, while Bolivian authorities confirmed four dead and three injured.

The extent of the damage in the remote jungle town of 3,000 people is still unclear -- reports on March 31 claimed that at least 400 homes were buried and dozens of people were missing. On April 1, OCHA reported that 30 people were missing and 30 homes were affected.

Rescue workers were not able to reach Chima, which lies about 125 miles north of La Paz, until nearly 24 hours after the landslide.

All power and telephone lines were knocked out, according to OCHA.

The Bolivian government has declared Chima a disaster area, but has not formally requested international assistance. The World Food Program, however, is sending tools and 5.5 metric tons of food, and the World Health Organization is providing medicine, according to OCHA.


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