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United Nations Increases Humanitarian Aid to Flood-Stricken Bolivia

The United Nations says it is stepping up aid to Bolivia to assist the victims of recent floods and landslides.

The world body says it has sent medical supplies for one thousand patients suffering from flood-related injuries. The U.N. says recent rains have overlapped with an outbreak of dengue fever, yellow fever and malaria, and officials fear the floods will spread disease.

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, has provided $30,000 to ensure Bolivians have clean water and sanitation, and sent three experts to assess the situation.

The Bolivian government declared a state of emergency last month. The floods and landslides have cut off major roads and isolated a number of rural communities.

Bolivia's rainy season runs from November to March. Authorities have blamed the severe weather and resulting floods on the El Nino phenomenon, which causes rain and floods in some places and drought and warm temperatures elsewhere.

In a separate development, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour has signed an agreement with the government to establish a presence for her office in La Paz. The office will assist Bolivian authorities in promoting and protecting human rights in that country.