The Bolivian weather service SENAMHI (Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología) issued a Red level meteorological alert - the highest level out of four - as of Thursday, January 3, for areas near Gundonovia (Beni department) due to severe flooding caused by rising waters along the Rio Sécure. The weather alert will remain in effect until at least Monday, January 7.
An Orange level meteorological alert - the second-highest warning level out of four - remains in effect for parts of the departments of Beni, La Paz, Pando, Cochabamba, and Tarija as of Friday, January 4. According to SENAMHI, heavy rain may cause flooding in the aforementioned departments, particularly near rivers and streams. Localized traffic disruptions are possible in the event of flooding.
Meanwhile, the municipality of Villa Tunari (Cochabamba department) was declared a disaster zone due to river flooding on December 29-30. Officials indicate heavy rains in recent weeks have caused the Chapare, San Mateo, and Espíritu Santo rivers, among other local waterways, to overflow into neighboring municipalities, displacing residents.
Flooding is common in Bolivia during the rainy season (October to April) and can result in significant transportation disruptions, structural damage, and loss of life.
Individuals present in the abovementioned departments 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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