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EMBARGOED TO THE MEDIA UNTIL TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2003, 1100 HRS NEW YORK TIME
El Chaco Drought
A prolonged drought is severely threatening the food security, health and nutritional status of children and adults in the El Chaco region located in Bolivia’s southeast. Though this is a chronic drought situation, compounded effects of the past years and the acute nature of this year’s drought, put the region at risk of a major humanitarian crisis.
According to two rapid assessments conducted by FAO, UNICEF, WFP and Government institutions (July/August 2004), the drought is affecting an estimated 180,000 people (out of which, 26,000 are children under five years of age) living in rural areas of the 16 municipalities of El Chaco. Seven of these municipalities are considered to be the most affected and in need of urgent assistance to avert further damage: Boyuibe, Camiri, Charagua, Cuevo, Gutierrez, Machareti and Huacaya. In these municipalities, an average of 93% of the maize crop (main food source) has been lost. Food availability is of major concern now and is expected to worsen until the next harvest in May 2005.
With 85% percent of affected families
living mainly on rain-fed subsistence agriculture, the drought has
undermined their ability to produce enough food to meet daily requirements.
The drought has also caused a situation of limited access to safe drinking
water, forcing people to risk the spread of disease by using the same source
of water as their livestock.
Based on the rapid assessments, the UN
Disaster Management Team’s (DMT) Joint Flash Appeal
Priority 1 (seven most affected
As an immediate first step, the DMT joint
plan of action focuses its attention on the seven most
This Flash Appeal supports the government
plan of action in response to the prolonged severe