Organization of American States



March 5, 2002



The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luigi Einaudi, on Monday presented the Ambassador of Bolivia, Marcelo Ostria Trigo, with a contribution for $20,000 to help with recovery efforts following the February 19 floods that left some 66 dead and 110 injured, with over 500 homeless in the city of La Paz. 

Einaudi conveyed the Secretary General's and the OAS staff's sympathies to the South American nation, and explained that the Organization was responding to the appeal with this symbolic contribution from its Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM), "to help ease the impact of the natural disaster."  He said the OAS was standing with the Bolivian people through this painful and tragic ordeal, and expressed concern at the heavy human toll and material loss. 

The Bolivian Ambassador said the OAS contribution meant a lot to his country.  He said: "It means solidarity.  It means our grief is shared.  Any assistance we get is encouragement to press ahead in our effort to return things to normal in Bolivia." 

Noting that the unprecedented floods had inflicted more than $70 million in material damage, Ostria Trigo said reconstruction is now underway and that the government is still assessing the extent of the tragedy.   He said no one could remember anything like this natural disaster in Bolivia.