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Cablegate: Bolivia Flooding Sitrep 4: March 1, 2007

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #0573 0601935
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011935Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2678
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6591
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3913
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7801
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5046
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2280
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2380
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 3347
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4447
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4921
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 1604
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 9511
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0076
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0181
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LA PAZ 000573

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/AND LPETRONI
SAN JOSE FOR USAID/OFDA TIMOTHY CALLAGHAN
STATE PASS TO AID FOR DCHA/OFDA MILENA POPP, LAC/SA JEFF
BAKKEN, DCHA/FFP BARRY BURNETT
LIMA FOR DHS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID AMED ASUP CASC EAGR ECON PREL BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA FLOODING SITREP 4: MARCH 1, 2007

REF: LA PAZ 553

1. (U) Large parts of the departments of the Beni and Santa
Cruz remain affected by massive floods.

- GOB authorities estimate that flood waters have affected
almost 35,000 families in the two departments, leaving 39
dead and six missing.

- Dengue fever continues to spread, with 585 confirmed cases
and 1,856 possible cases. The Bolivian health ministry's
epidemiology unit estimates that this could represent only
ten percent of actual cases.

- Total damage estimates have exceeded USD 250 million.

2. (U) On February 28, President Morales issued a supreme
decree declaring a national disaster; the decree prioritized
certain municipalities and generated criticism from
department prefects and opposition leaders, who declared the
decree "discriminatory" and argued that it should have been
national in its extent. The decree authorizes the use of up
to one percent of the national budget for disaster assistance.

3. (U) In a related development, President Morales refused to
immediately consider a congressional proposal to allow
departmental and municipal authorities unlimited access to
direct hydrocarbons tax funds to address the disaster.
Presidential spokesman Alex Contreras declared February 28
that the GOB would not allow any institution "the
unrestricted and unlimited use of resources," even in a
national emergency.

4. (U) The mission's aid efforts continue. Post expects an
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) flight to arrive
in Trinidad, the capital of the Beni, on March 2, with an
estimated 4,000 hygiene kits, 1,000 water jugs, and material
for 400 to 500 tents; the flight and cargo are worth
approximately USD 180,000. Post is also working to finalize
arrangements for a military aircraft to arrive March 5, with
an estimated 2,300 hygiene kits, 4,800 water jugs, and
material for 160 to 200 tents; the cargo is worth
approximately USD 71,000. The Ambassador plans to meet the
aircraft and personally assess the region's flood damage.
The two flights, together with past assistance, an estimated
USD 10,000 to combat the dengue outbreak, and an additional
USD 150,000 from OFDA for supplies and transportation, would
bring total U.S. flood donations to an estimated USD 1.1
million.
GOLDBERG

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