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Rising Flood Waters Threaten Food Supply in Bolivia

March 6, 2010 — Thousands of residents have been forced from their homes after rising water levels in Bolivia's Amazonian region.

The overflowing Mamore River is threatening countless ranches, as cattle graze on the shores of the high river. Tens of thousands of cows have been lost in the province of Beni -- which produces 45 per cent of Bolivia's beef. Grazing grounds have been compromised by the invading flood waters leaving the herd with little to no food. The water also weakens the cattle's skin, potentially causing ulcers and infections.

Livestock deaths are a major blow to the Bolivian economy, and now the government is concerned about food shortages. Emergency Chief of the Ministry of rural Land and Development, Lucio Tito says,'We will be moderately aiding the livestock sector that has been affected. If we don't act in this region, we fear we might have problems with food security in the country.'

Nearby, the families that live in the Los Puentes Community have been forced from their modest homes and placed into makeshift tents and huts. A tent village has been erected near high ground because of the prevailing flood waters.

Some 42,000 families have been affected by the flooding. Most have lost their crops and are concerned for the food supply.

El Nino effect is being blamed for the disaster which also affected the country in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Humanitarian Aid operations have begun, but much of it hasn't reached those in the most dire areas. Some communities don't even have a single water tank for clean drinking water.

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