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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:

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