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EMBARGOED TO THE MEDIA UNTIL TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2003, 1100 HRS NEW YORK TIME

 

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Bolivia

El Chaco Drought

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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.
By the time of the two rapid assessments, 65% of those interviewed had consumed their food stocks and 80% of the affected population did not have seeds for the next sowing season (beginning in November 2004). As a result, affected families have resorted to reducing the number of daily meals and heads of households are increasingly migrating in search of a means to mitigate the situation, ultimately exacerbating family vulnerability.

Based on the rapid assessments, the UN Disaster Management Team’s (DMT) Joint Flash Appeal
seeks US$ 1.8 million to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable persons in the drought-affected areas of El Chaco for a period of seven months (1 November 2004 through to 31 May 2005).

Priority 1 (seven most affected municipalities):
• Emergency food rations for 42,200 persons (including 13,000 children under five years) (WFP);
• Supplementary nutritional food rations (biscuits) for 5,000 children aged 6-24 months (UNICEF);
• Safe drinking water for approximately 12,000 persons (8,500 children and adolescents) – this
includes the seven most affected municipalities, plus Lagunillas and Cabezas, for a total of nine
municipalities (UNICEF);
• Distribution of seeds to approximately 11,000 families (FAO).

Priority 2:
• Safe drinking water and basic sanitation for approximately 24,000 families in nine second
priority municipalities (PAHO/WHO);
• Health care for 180,000 persons (90,000 children and adolescents) in all 16 municipalities of
El Chaco;
• New agricultural technologies that ensure food security for 11,000 families in the seven first
priority municipalities (FAO).

As an immediate first step, the DMT joint plan of action focuses its attention on the seven most
severely affected municipalities with (1) family food rations, (2) nutritional food rations for children under two years of age, (3) safe drinking water and (4) distribution of seeds. As a close second step, the plan of action focuses on the totality of the 16 municipalities of El Chaco in health and new agricultural technologies.

This Flash Appeal supports the government plan of action in response to the prolonged severe
drought. The Government declared El Chaco a disaster area on 05 October 2004 and appealed for international assistance. The members of the DMT that are responding to the emergency through this Joint Flash Appeal are WFP, UNICEF, PAHO/WHO, FAO and UNDP.

Summary of Requirements
By Sector
as of 15 November 2004

 

  SECTOR NAME

ORIGINAL REQUIREMENTS US $

 
  AGRICULTURE

302,000

 
  FOOD 1,013,617  
  HEALTH 257,000  
  WATER AND SANITATION 236,600  
       
       
  GRAND TOTAL 1,809,217  
       

Summary of Requirements
By Appealing Organization
as of 15 November 2004

 

  APPEALING ORGANIZATION

ORIGINAL REQUIREMENTS US $

 
  FAO

302,000

 
  PAHO/WHO 381,600  
  UNICEF 167,000  
  WATER AND SANITATION 958,617  
       
       
  GRAND TOTAL 1,809,217  
       
 

Copyright  © 2003  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs