This footage shows some of the damage caused after an outbreak of 12 active wildfires has destroyed over 460,000 hectares of land in Bolivia as fire crews battle to put them out.
The country’s President Evo Morales has suspending his election campaign to address the disaster.
Video Credit: CEN/@mincombolivia
Devastating blazes have hit the region of Chiquitania in the eastern Bolivian department of Santa Cruz with Governor Ruben Costas calling it a “departmental disaster due to their magnitude”.
He also confirmed that 468,904 hectares of forest and rural land have been destroyed by the wildfires so far.
At a press conference, Santa Cruz Environment Minister Cinthia Asin and Enrique Bruno of the Secretariat of Public Security said that 12 fires have affected seven municipalities in the Bolivian department.
So far, the worst-hit municipalities have been Robore and San Ignacio de Velasco.
According to local media, it is believed that the fires were caused by the burning of crop fields, which in Bolivia is called ‘chaqueo’ and is considered an ancestral land-clearing practice.
Reports said that President Evo Morales flew over the area of Robore early on Monday and suspended his campaign for the country’s general election in October.
He said the most “important thing now is to avoid human harm” and announced that humanitarian aid, including flour, sugar, water, milk and even gas masks, will be distributed to the most affected communities.
So far, no families have been evacuated from their homes as the fires are currently contained in rural areas.
Over 600 police officers and teams of firefighters have been transferred to the stricken eastern department from the western capital La Paz and the central city of Cochabamba, according to reports.
The local authorities said that 16,885 forest fires have been recorded so far this year, with more outbreaks expected throughout August.
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