Damaged Buildings and Souls: Update on Bolivia Mudslide

Last week we shared news of the devastating mudslides that affected central Bolivia.  It’s hard to imagine the terror of watching a violent mudslide destroy your home and cover streets in mud and rubble.

(Photo: Mauricio Rocabado, Los Tiempos)

Yet this is what happened in Chilimarca when the banks of the Taquina River overflowed more than ten days ago. The MAP Bolivia Health Office suffered severe damage, and tragically, a MAP-trained health promoter lost her life.

The mud was relentless. The clean-up has just begun.

In addition to taking care of the immediate needs of their own families, the MAP team is working to aid those living in difficult conditions.

MAP’s Bolivia Office Director, Jose Miguel Deangulo, wrote to us about the MAP facility:

"The clinic resumed activities after very intense support from MAP staff and people from the community. It took several days to remove the mud and to rehabilitate the different areas that were covered .

Families are getting clothes, food and other crucial items. We have accommodated one of the staff families that was living in very high-risk conditions inside of her home. We opened our program to children of other families that have been placed in a shelter so that children may have more relaxed environment and better conditions to process their trauma.”

While retaining walls can be fixed and mud washed away, the emotional damage suffered by the residents of the community is harder to repair.  Mothers and children are slowly returning to the clinic for weekly programs, but the fear of more mudslides remains.

Unfortunately for one of the clinic program participants, Maribel Alarcon, her story does not have a happy ending.

The day of the mudslides, Maribel was home with her young son and worried, like many, about the unceasing rain. Before she knew it, the mudslides inundated her home depositing over six feet of mud and rubble.

Tearful and trembling, Maribel shared this account with a MAP employee:

“Everything happened in minutes. I only ghad time to take my barefoot son out, and he ran off with what he was wearing, and everything was left inside. It is very sad to see that all the effort I put every day to build my life today is nothing, I lost everything!”   

She and her husband and two children are now homeless and relying on the generosity of neighbors and friends. MAP staff members have provided emotional support, along with personal items and clothing for the children. The family has moved to a shelter – their future remains uncertain.

This small community has suffered greatly. The MAP Bolivia Office serves the healthcare needs of the Chilimarca community and surrounding area. In 2017, the MAP team there served more than 25,000 people.

Will you consider a donation to keep this clinic operating and able to provide medicines and health supplies to the neediest? 

During this season of Lent, let us remember:

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them”  Hebrews 6:10

 Bolivia Relief Efforts

Topics: disaster relief Bolivia mudslides

When the Rain Came Down: Devastating Mudslides in Bolivia

It’s hard to imagine the fear of torrential rains causing the river in your neighborhood rise.  The fear of rising waters and flooding destroying everything you own. It’s even worse to imaging devastating mudslides. 

Sadly, this is exactly what happened last week in central Bolivia. The small town of Chilimarca, about 150 miles east of La Paz, was inundated when the Taquina River overflowed its banks. Heavy rain triggered a violent mudslide damaging buildings and covering streets in mud and rubble. More than 8200 families in the Cochabamba province have been affected.

Imagine your fear. 

This disaster also hit close to home. We are saddened to report that MAP’s Bolivia Health Office was swamped with mud and water. Fellow staff members told frightful stories of people being trapped in their homes, unable to get out due to the mud.

Jose Miguel DeAnguillo, MAP’s Program Director in Bolivia, shared this account soon after the mudslide:

"This is a very sad day. MAP’s Health Guardian is trapped with another woman in the house where she was working. Her name is Paulina Montaño. She was able to run and put the two children on the second floor, and somehow, she went down to get something but was caught by the mudslide. The children were rescued even though the house was covered with mud.

Her husband, a diabetes patient, was hospitalized before the mudslide. He does not know at all what has happened to his family. Painfully, there is no way to remove mud for now because of the high risk of new slides and the failure of previous attempts of opening a hole because mud and water keep filing it.

Now the police do not allow the team to get closer to that house any more. The staff is now supporting the two children in a house of an aunt that also lives in the community."

Reading what members of our MAP family in Bolivia have experienced has disheartened all of us at MAP International. Our Disaster Response Team remains in contact with staff members and is assisting those in need.

But so much more is required.

Please help us help our MAP family. Today we lifted all of them up in our prayers; we hope you will do the same. Now, more than ever, we want to demonstrate:

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Bolivia Relief Efforts

Topics: disaster relief MAP International Bolivia mudslides

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