Heavy rains kill 23 in Bolivia

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La Paz, Bolivia -

Civil defence authorities in Bolivia say heavy rains have claimed at least 23 lives in recent days.

They say nearly 10 000 families across much of the Andean country have been affected by dangerous, rain-swollen rivers.

Civil Defense Vice Minister Oscar Cabrera said on Thursday that the dead include four members of the same family - two women and two children -killed last weekend in the southern region of Chuquisaca when a river overspilled its banks. On Monday, another person died when a bridge collapsed over a swollen river south of La Paz. The other 18 people died last week in various parts of the country.

Cabrera says President Evo Morales' government is studying the possibility of declaring an emergency, and that the leader will deliver a report on Friday. - Sapa-AP

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