Bolivia: Emergency Response to Fires affected in Bolivia

In early August, a forest fire started in the department of Santa Cruz in Bolivia, which has increased the sources of accelerated burning.  According to the most recent OCHA report (1 Oct. 2019) on the fires, Wildfires continued to rage through South America including Bolivia, experiencing a spate of fires due to lower humidity, strong winds and longstanding agricultural practices of clearing farm land with fire. Authorities in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, report that fires have consumed at least 3.3 million hectares.  On 17 August, the Santa Cruz departmental government issued a decree to mobilize human, technical and logistical resources to address the forest fire.

The Government of Bolivia has requested assistance in fighting the fires, which is the current priority for the State, In this area, many of the low-land indigenous populations maintain autonomous and communally owned indigenous lands (known as Native Community Lands. Reactivation of hot spots in some municipalities, particularly those in rural areas, has hindered the ability to control and curb the extension of the fires. In this context, the population faces challenges to engage in their habitual daily actions, cope with the emergency and protect their homes, crops, livestock while aiming to prevent the advance of the fire.

The Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia (IEMB), will be responsible for the execution and general implementation of the RRF, in close coordination with the local authorities and leadership respectively.