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250 homes collapse in rains

Nearly 800 Bolivian families became homeless after intense rains caused 250 homes to collapse in the capital city of La Paz, but there have been no reports of any casualties, an official said.

world Updated: Feb 28, 2011 09:18 IST

Nearly 800 Bolivian families became homeless after intense rains caused 250 homes to collapse in the capital city of La Paz, but there have been no reports of any casualties, an official said.

La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla said on Sunday that the mudslides began Saturday night, destroying around 80 hectares of land.

Heavy rains this year have resulted in 60 deaths nationwide.

There have been no reports of fatalities or injuries, but the damage has been "enormous", said Revilla.

Defence Minister Ruben Saavedra said some 2,000 people, including municipal officials, police, soldiers and fire-fighters, were working to evacuate the people who suffered damage to their homes.

Red alert has been declared and drinking water service has been suspended in many areas.

A year ago in La Paz, a similar landslide destroyed 72 homes and affected 118 families.

The city of almost one million people is located at a confluence of unstable ravines that come down off the Andean high plateau, with many areas situated between 3,300 and 4,000 metres above sea level.

Civil Defence Vice Minister Hernan Tuco said that so far this year, 11,000 families have been affected by rains and flooding around the country.

President Evo Morales has declared a national emergency and announced that $20 million would be allocated to provide humanitarian aid and repair the damage caused by the rains.