A few days after declaring the status of national emergency, the de facto Government of Bolivia has recognized that it is overwhelmed by the advance of the fires in Chiquitanía, in the eastern regions of Santa Cruz and Beni. “We are channeling the necessary resources and if necessary we are going to ask for international help to turn them off. We are going to move forward! “Said the interim president Jeanine Áñez. The former senator flew over areas devastated by fire where there are some nature reserves. It is estimated that close to one million hectares of forest have been devoured by flames. Smoke covers the sky in some urban centers. A year ago, another disaster, of greater magnitude, wiped out six million hectares of the Chiquitanía and the Bolivian Amazon. At that time ruled Evo Morales, who reacted ambiguously to the environmental disaster, among other reasons because he did not look down on the economic exploitation of a part of the forest.
In fact, Áñez has found a compelling reason to abandon the election campaign with a view to the October elections in which his chances of winning were nil: his environment made it known that he got out of the electoral race to “take care of democracy” and, at the same time, dedicate himself entirely to the fight against the fire. In anticipation of that decision, the provisional president annulled a decree of the previous administration that authorized the felling of trees and the expansion of the agricultural frontier. “While in international organizations Morales was demonstrating the care of the Mother EarthHere at the national level, Mother Earth did not care, “said Áñez.
Those gestures have not been enough to win the sympathy of environmentalists. “The repeal of the normative package (of Morales) must take into account that the events do not fall only on the regulations but that there is a logistical, business, administrative and political baggage that gives them sustenance and would continue to carry out activities without major reservations,” said Documentation and Information Center Bolivia. “The transitional government has shown that it fully intends to deepen and give continuity to this logic & rdquor ;.
Fires devastate 650 hectares in San Antonio de Lomerío; 20 families are affected. pic.twitter.com/Kw7BAcL4Dq
– THE DUTY (@grupoeldeber) September 17, 2020
The president has reported, however, that new military contingents have moved to the affected areas, where they will remain “until the fire is extinguished“. Defense Minister Fernando López said for his part that the Government is studying the contracting of three seaplanes with a capacity of 10,000 liters of water. According to López, the most complex situations take place in the Copaibo forest reserve, located in the Santa Cruz municipality of Concepción.
According to the Forest and Land Authority (ABT), until the first days of September there were 17,091 heat sources throughout the country, mostly grasslands of Beni and Santa Cruz, to the east. Claims, ABT reported, have been reduced by 69% compared to 2019.
Specialists maintain that August and September are the months most prone to fires due to the burning of large areas to prepare the crop, especially soy. Those that happened in 2019 have been classified as environmental tragedy and it strongly marked the political agenda of that country. Until the present the total impact of ecosystems is unknown. “This information would help us understand all that we have lost. And it would help us to propose the best forms of recovery, conservation and restoration, in their different scales, “said the Bolivian Documentation and Information Center in this regard.
government of @JeanineAnez turned out to be a MORE extension of @evoespuebloThat is why they never wanted to repeal the incendiary decrees. Today the fire returns to devour the forests of the PN #NoelKempff. So far this year 1MM hectares have been burned and within them, millions of lives. pic.twitter.com/Wor5RzVa3z
– Alex Villca Limaco (@alexvillca) September 13, 2020
“The radical transformation of the environment, based on land clearing, encourages and encourages the establishment of other activities, also extractive, such as mining and agribusiness. The fires have enabled several extensions of land for cultivation or raising livestock, to the implementation of intensive practices and have modified the nature of land use, “added the NGO.