1.1 Bolivia Humanitarian Background

Bolivia Humanitarian Background

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters

Yes / No

Comments / Details



The dry season covers the months of April to October, which include the Winter period.

June and July are usually the coldest months of the year.

Rainfall records between February to May in 2013 were low and precipitation was not sufficient to accompany the crop cycle, phenomenon that affects the flowering and grain filling

stages in corn and the normal vegetative development in other traditional crops of the Chaco (located to the southeast, in the departments of Chuquisaca, Santa Cruz and Tarija).

This year (2014), the levels of damage and effects do not exceed other drought emergency scenarios in this decade: 54,355 affected families in 2009 and 97,500 affected families in 2010.



In Bolivia there are six areas with seismic hazard and the most vulnerable place is located in the center and West of Santa Cruz, according to the San Calixto Observatory (OSC).

OSC records  reveal that from January to August 2012, 107 earthquakes with greater than three degrees of magnitude on Richter scale occurred.

This activity was registered particularly in Potosi (44 events) and Cochabamba (30). Then comes La Paz with 12, Oruro with 11, Sucre with 4 and Tarija and Santa Cruz with 3 earthquakes, respectively.

In Pando and Beni these phenomena were not reported.

On May 22, 1998, Aiquile and Totora (Cochabamba) were rocked by a devastating earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale.

The telluric movement caused the death of 78 people, many wounded, 385 collapsed homes, 312 partially destroyed homes, and 315 high-risk homes.

The earthquake of greater magnitude in the country was registered on June 9, 1994 with 8.4 on the Richter scale, which occurred at a depth of 600 kilometers in the village of Rurrenabaque (Beni), with no casualties, but caused cracks in walls.

The earthquake was felt strongly in several capitals of South America.


GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Fallas Potencialmente Activas 140930



In 2009 Bolivia suffered the largest dengue epidemic recorded since the eighties.

It impacted on 130 municipalities in the country, with more than 84,000 suspected cases and 7,421 confirmed cases, and reported 25 deaths from severe dengue.

Two thirds of the total number of cases and 69% of the deaths occurred in the department of Santa Cruz.

In 2010 four deaths were reported in sporadic outbreaks that occurred in 12 municipalities, with a 93% decrease compared to 2009.

Extreme Temperatures


In 2013, 2 events. 17,490 people affected and 18 deaths



At the beginning of November 2012, adverse events typical of the rainy season (November to March) were reported. 

Initially these events focused on scattered points of the territory.

Subsequently, the impact started in broader territorial extensions as in the case of San Juan del Oro basin, where 80% of the crops (300 ha) and at least 4,000 families were affected in 10 municipalities in the departments of Tarija and Chuquisaca and Potosi.

The last two were the most affected.

The impacts on the Uru-chipaya area in the Department of Oruro, Tupiza in Potosi or the Tropics in Cochabamba are also remarkable.

The most recent adverse event of greater magnitude took place in the last few weeks in the Cochabamba tropics where the overflow of six rivers affected more than 8,700 families in 260 communities in Shinahota, Villa Tunari, Chimore and Puerto Villarroel.

According to the Governorate, more than 17,400 affected families have been reported during the rainy period and currently more than 500 affected families and 16,642 ha of affected crops have been reported.

At the national level, VIDECI has reported about 29,000 affected families from 11/01/2012 to 03/19/2013 and  25 deaths were reported due to direct effect of the adverse events during this season.

According to the Ministry of Rural Development and Land, an affectation that exceeds 13.623 hectares is estimated, although it points out that this situation does not put the country's food security at risk.

Insect Infestation


In Bolivia, 10 years ago, 50 out of 100 homes were infested with vinchucas. Today the number dropped to three out of 100 homes. In Cochabamba, the figure decreased from 70 to 2 percent.



On February 26, 2011 there was a mega landslide affecting the eastern slope of the city of La Paz.

The landslide was a product of the sudden activation of a geodynamic movement, caused by the intense land saturation due to the overflowing of the river Chujllumani in an area of approximately 80 to 100 hectares.

The landslide affected about 1,000 homes and approximately 5,000 families had to be evacuated. There was loss of human life.

In February 2014, a landslide occurred because of the waterlogging of the slope caused by a prolonged period of rain in Rurrenabaque (Beni), with the loss of 21 lives, houses and household items.

Volcanic Eruptions


In Bolivia 13 potentially active volcanoes were identified, that is to say that they are showing fumarolic activity.

Among these volcanoes, the Uturuncu, located in the department of Potosi, is showing deforestation in its cone, which implies that it can erupt at any moment.

In Bolivia, many of these volcanoes are showing fumarolic activity such as the Parinacota, Sajama, Quemado, Tata Sabaya, Atahuallpa, Irruputuncu OLCA, Paruma, Ollagüe, Putana, Uturuncu, Nuevo Mundo and Tunupa Volcano.

These run the risk of erupting again; however, they do not represent a major threat to the population, because they are located in remote regions.

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Volcanes Activos 140930

High Waves / Surges





From 10 to 12 August, 2013, the heat sources increased to 233 at the national level, "Beni has registered 160 heat sources and is the department with more cases of heat sources.

As can be observed, forest fires are started mainly in natural grasslands". According to official information, from January to August there were 4,626 heat sources, and it is expected that by the end of the year, events will not reach the reports of 2012. 

In 2012, twenty-eight thousand heat sources were reported. ABT reported that the “chaqueos” (practices of burning grasses and pastures) are not properly done, causing forest fires which affect natural parks. 

Therefore, a sanction is advised for the indiscriminate burning, punished by deprivation of liberty for up to six years.

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Focos de Calor 140930

High Winds



Other Comments



Man-Made Issues



Civil Strife



International Conflict



Internally Displaced Persons



Refugees Present



Landmines / UXO Present



Other Comments



For further information on Bolivia Humanitarian background, please see the following documents:

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Eventos Adversos Naturales 140930

Calamities and Seasonal Affects

Seasonal Affects on Transport



From (month) to (month)

Primary Road Transport

Prolonged and intense rainy season cause landslides or collapses of bridges, with partial interruptions of highways for short periods of time.

They affect the increase in transport fares.

Social convulsion (blockades)

Contributes to the shortage of supplies and consumer price increase

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Transitabilidad Carreteras 140930

December to February


Not determined

Secondary Road Transport

Prolonged seasonal rains cause deterioration of platform and roads drainage, causing non-trafficability of the roads during the rainy season.

It causes an increase in transport fares and supply shortages in local markets.

January to April

Rail Transport

Rainy season may cause delays

Social convulsions (blockades)

December to February

Not determined

Air Transport

Air operations of aerodromes with surface of gravel or non treated soil are interrupted during rainy season in the North of the country.

Due to lack of alternative road communication in these areas, the economic impact is high.

December to February

Waterway Transport

Road transport alternatives are sought during low water season.

It affects the income of the population, whose main source of livelihood is this activity.

May to October

Slope glidings, drainage silting, waterlogging of the platform throughout the country's roads, are constant incidents which are resolved in relatively short time.

In the Department of Beni, the major effect is flooding, which affects communal roads and interrupts the connection between municipalities during the whole period, through cuts in committed sections and loss of wooden bridges or culverts.

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Anílisis Inundaciones en el Beni 140930

During the low water season, which extends from May to October, the biggest problem in air transport is visibility, which is affected by the burning of vast forest areas in the departments of Beni, Santa Cruz, and Pando.

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Focos de Calor 140930

Seasonal Effects on Storage and Handling (economic, social, climate...)



From <month> to <month>


It does not affect packaged food, since Government storehouses have sufficient capacity and allow trucks to go into the warehouse.

The difficulty in storage is the product in bulk (wheat) because there is no siloed infrastructure and silos are shared with private milling companies. 

January to December


Fractionation of products, which is done outside the storehouses, is restricted and in the lowlands,

where the level of precipitation is high, is suspended and pre provisioning is required.

December to February

For more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters:

EMDAT Website Information on Bolivia

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response


The Risk Reduction and Disaster Response Act enacted on October 25, 2000 and Amendment Act 2335 dated March 5, 2002, structure Government response as follows:

When the emergency is local, the municipality has complete responsibility for the response. It has formed its Municipal emergency operations center and declares a state of emergency, can reformulate its budget to items for assistance and care of those affected.

If the capacity of the municipality is exceeded by the size of the event, it is reported to the departmental emergency operations center and the Department Governorship assumes the response, in coordination with Civil Defense.

When governance response capacities are overwhelmed, the National Emergency Operations Center is informed, and the National Government assumes the emergency response, in coordination with Civil Defense.

In all cases the Declaration of emergency must be approved, to issue the corresponding decrees and allocate the necessary funds.

When the magnitude of the event exceeds the capacity of the Government's response, the Government issues a decree declaring a state of national emergency and calls for international cooperation to deliver humanitarian aid.

The country’s General budget has a budget item for directly addressing relief, emergency and reconstruction, which is assigned in the annual operating budgets of municipalities and governorates.

 For the Emergency Declaration, information is provided to the Vice Ministry of Civil Defense VIDECI by governmental institutions such as

  • Meteorology and Hydrology National Service SENAMHI
  • Naval Hydrology National Service SNHN,
  • Road network trafficability report of the Bolivian Roads Administration ABC,
  • Governorates
  • Municipalities
  • AASANA’s report on the operation conditions of airports and aerodromes.

All national institutions, as well as the Armed Forces, are convened to make all of their assets available for the emergency response.

For immediate response, the Air Force offers 2 Hercules C-130, military personnel to support in aircraft cargo handling and protection of the goods.

The Army has a minimum of 4 freight vehicles per area of attention and military personnel (soldiers) for support in handling of cargo and protection of storehouses.

In disaster areas requiring waterway transport, the Naval Force has vessels with an average capacity of 30 TM and military personnel (soldiers) for support in handling of cargo and protection of the goods.

At the national level, Civil Defense has 4x4 vans, 3.2 TM trucks, 7TM dump trucks, 11,000 liters cisterns, 23 TM trailers.

For implementation, the Government issues a Supreme Decree declaring a National Emergency and forming the Joint Command (composed of the Army, Navy and Air Force) in the area, with a mandate to coordinate the logistics of the response of the Government and the Humanitarian Community.

For further information on Bolivia Government contact details, please see the following link: 

4.1 Bolivia Government Contact List

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Ministry Contacts 140930

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Government Website 140930

Humanitarian Community

The coordination at the national level in the preliminary phase and in the emergency, pre and post event, is with the Vice Ministry of Civil Defense, Ministry of Rural Development and

Land as the leader of the food sectorial committee, and the Units of Risk Management (UGRs) and Emergency Operations Centers (COEs) at the regional and municipal levels.

The sources of information used are provided by the VIDECI, by the field counterparts, governorates and municipalities, criteria for the preparation of the assistance for the unmet demand gap in coordination with UNETE and,

in the operative part, individually by each agency, according to their specialty. Distribution is done on the basis of agreements and consultation with the Government and socializing with beneficiary municipalities and regions.

For further information on Bolivia humanitarian contact details, please see the following link: 

4.2.2 Bolivia Humanitarian Agency Contact List

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA Humanitarian Community 140930

GLCSC LCA BOLIVIA International Community 140930


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