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Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Floods prompt Bolivia emergency

Map of Peru and Bolivia

Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared a state of emergency in areas of the country, as heavy rains and floods affect some 24,000 families.

The worst-hit areas are La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Beni. The flooding is expected to get worse as more rain is forecast.

Rivers have broken their banks and overflowed. There have been mudslides.

Meanwhile rescuers in Peru renewed efforts to evacuate tourists trapped near the Inca site of Machu Picchu.

Rain and mudslides there have severed road and rail links in the region.

However, a break in the weather has now allowed the authorities to send in helicopters to ferry out several thousand tourists. The operation is expected to end by the weekend.

El Nino

President Morales has toured Bolivia's affected areas and authorised the release of funds to help tackle the crisis.

Earlier this week a heavy mudslide washed away 72 houses on the outskirts of the capital La Paz.

The rains, which have swept away crops, livestock and communication lines, are blamed on the El Nino weather phenomenon which results in severe weather conditions across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Rain regularly increases in Bolivia in January and February. However, officials are saying that climate change is also to blame.



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SEE ALSO
Hundreds rescued at Machu Picchu
29 Jan 10 |  Americas
Machu Picchu rail link still shut
28 Jan 10 |  Americas
Peru begins Machu Picchu airlift
26 Jan 10 |  Americas

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
IAfrica.com Flood death toll rises - 8 hrs ago
ABC Online Peru flood toll - 17 hrs ago
NEWS.com.au Peru flood death toll rises to 20 - 18 hrs ago
Sky News Trapped Machu Picchu Tourists Flown To Safety - 24 hrs ago
Mail Online UK Machu Picchu tourists evacuated but Inca citadel could be closed for weeks - 52 hrs ago



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