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  • State of Emergency declared in Bolivia after a massive fire broke out. | Representational Photo

    State of Emergency declared in Bolivia after a massive fire broke out. | Representational Photo | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 August 2019

President Evo Morales visited the municipality of Robore after a disastrous fire affected more than 460,000 hectares in Bolivia’s eastern region.

Bolivia’s government declared the eastern region of Santa Cruz a state of emergency for fires that affected more than 460,000 hectares including forests and grasslands in the tourist area of Chiquitania and a nature reserve. 

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Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived Monday in the municipality of Robore with humanitarian aid consisting of various medical and technical equipment. 

The president wrote on his official Twitter account that two helicopters are working permanently, at noon one more will arrive for the evacuation. 

"The first task is to take care of life and provide humanitarian aid," he said.

He explained that 1,380 kilograms of rice, 1,360 kilograms of noodles, 1,500 kilograms of flour, 1,380 kilograms of sugar, 2,000 liters of milk and 1,000 liters of water were sent, in addition to fumigant backpacks, chinstraps, and gas masks, among other inputs. 

Morales also informed that 600 police officers were dispatched, as well as firefighters from La Paz and Cochabamba; and six water tankers to quell the fire in Robore.

Since this Sunday, the governor Ruben Costas warned about the "dramatic situation we are living in the department and the great vulnerability that exists" by the fires.

The disaster declaration will facilitate coordinated action with the national government, which sent the Minister of Defense, Javier Zavaleta, and the Deputy Minister of Civil Defense, Oscar Cabrera, to Santa Cruz for fighting the fire.

The municipalities declared in “disaster” by the fires are Robore and San Ignacio de Velasco, although the work to control the fire is also carried out in other locations such as San Rafael, Charagua, Concepcion, San Matias, and San Jose de Chiquitos.

Various civil organizations like the instructors of forest firefighters of the government, volunteer firefighters, municipal technicians, military and Civil Defense personnel are sent to protect communities that might be affected, according to the regional government of Santa Cruz.

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