Thirteen people died “from heatstroke” in the last few days in Boliviathe government announced yesterday Monday, while the meteorological service informed that they are recorded unprecedented temperatures in the Andean state.

The Minister of Health Maria Rene Castro stated that the 13 people died in Santa Cruz County (east), bordering Brazil.

“They died of heatstroke”he emphasized, clarifying that all the victims suffered from underlying diseases, such as diabetes mellitus or arterial hypertension.

In “100% of cases, there was dehydration, extreme or moderate to extreme. This is why people died,” added the minister.

The National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (SENAMHI) also reported yesterday that in at least 15 cities, in the north, east and south-east of the country, heat records were recorded.

In villages of Santa Cruz County, the temperature fluctuated between 36° Celsius and 41° Celsiusaccording to SENAMHI.

Marisol Portugal of the national meteorological service cited, for example, a record temperature in the city of Yaquiva, on the border with Argentina, where the thermometer reached 44.9°C, breaking the previous record high of 43°C dating back to 1974.

Beyond the heat, the counties of Santa Cruz, Beni (northeast) and La Paz (west) suffocated by thick smoke due to forest fires which have not yet been brought under control.

Last Sunday and yesterday Monday, flights to Viru-Viru International Airport, which serves the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, were delayed or canceled.

Defense Minister Edmundo Novijo said during a press conference that the government will seek international cooperation to put out the fires.

A request for this was sent to the Venezuelan government, which was expected to deploy around thirty specialized firefighters within a few hours.

The increase in temperature is exacerbated by the burning of forests and grasslands to increase agricultural holdings.

The flames have reduced more than 29 million hectares of vegetated land to ashes this year, including 20 million hectares of grassland and 9.35 million hectares of forest land, according to the latest data from Bolivia’s environment ministry.