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Unusually heavy rainfall in the northern regions of Bolivia is causing damaging floods that are affecting nearly 800 Heifer farming families, Heifer Bolivia Country Director Daniel Vildozo said Thursday evening.

Vildozo said the municipalities of San Ignacio de Moxos and Trinidad where Heifer works are the most affected by the rising waters. The floods are expected to worsen as, "a big torrent of water from the rivers of the highlands is expected," he said.

The Emergency Operations Center of the Department of Beni has declared a red alert in the Mamore basin, which means communities are being evacuated among other preventive measures. Vildozo said Heifer families are currently safe, but due the lack of proper sanitation facilities the flooding has polluted the drinking water; it also has limited the access to roads so there is a shortage of food in the area.

See photos of the flooding on our Flickr site.

Most Heifer farming families in these areas have hair sheep and chickens. Vildozo said that in waterlogged sites, "these animals are at high risk because they can be washed away or eaten by wildlife species such as lizards, alligators and anacondas. They are also very likely to be affected also in the subsequent time due to the presence of disease."

Two artificial fishponds are also at risk of being lost because of this rising of the rivers, he said. Farmers in these areas also practice farm diversification, meaning they plant a variety of plants and crops that work in harmony with each other. However, many had just planted new seeds, which will not withstand the conditions of standing water.

A Reuters report indicated the waters were threatening nearly 100,000 head of cattle and 40,000 homes.

You can help these Bolivian farmers by donating to our disaster rehabilitation fund.  

Author

Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.