Ongoing flooding in several Bolivian departments prompted President Evo Morales to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday, February 7. Among the departments most affected by the flooding are La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Beni, Chuquisaca, Potosí, and Tarija. Several people have been left dead by the flooding and associated landslides; significant damages to homes and roads have also been reported.
Additional rainfall of between 2-5 cm (0.8-2.0 in) is expected in several provinces in the departments of La Paz, Oruro, and Potosí through the morning of Thursday, February 8, according to the Bolivian Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología (SENAMHI). Further flooding, landslides, and consequent transportation disruptions are expected in the abovementioned affected departments - particularly near rivers - in the coming weeks as the rainy season continues.
Flooding is common in Bolivia, particularly during the rainy season (October to April), and can result in significant transportation disruptions, structural damage, and loss of life. Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the rains thus far this season in Bolivia, which began in earnest in November 2017.
Individuals present in Bolivia are advised to monitor local weather reports and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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