(MNN) — International aid has started arriving in Bolivia, which, in recent weeks,
has seen its most devastating floods in 25 years displacing more than 350,000.
The government has declared a state of emergency, in hopes
that assistance accompanying the plea for help will address the overwhelming
needs. New Tribes Mission's Nita Zelenak says while their team hasn't felt a
direct impact, they will feel it indirectly. "Their primary concern, at
this point, is for the people that they work among, the tribal groups that they
minister to are going to be very much affected by this flood. It's affected their gardens, washed out their
bananas, and so in the future, there's going to be times of real hunger unless
something can be done to help them."
Many communities have been completely cut off by the floods,
hampering what relief efforts have begun.
Added to that, there are now fears of water-borne disease. So far, there have been more than 1,600 cases
of dengue fever and 1,400 cases of malaria reported in the affected regions. Bolivia's water
supplies have also been contaminated and people are living in unhygienic
NTM teams are primarily working with Bible translation and
church planting among three tribes: the Ese Ejja (essay-aye-ha), Yura (yuda)
and the Yuqui (yu key). Zelenak says teams
are working out their emergency response, "Particularly among the Ese
Ejja, which is one of the tribal groups (we're working with), they are already
suffering hunger problems because of last years' flood, and now, this year's
flood is even worse. So, our missionaries are looking at how we can best help