Nearly 800 Heifer International farming families are being affected by heavy rainfall and damaging floods in the northern regions of Bolivia, according to Heifer Bolivia Country Director Danial Vildozo.
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," Vildozo 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 to 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. View photos of the flooding on the Heifer International Flickr site.
Heifer International is raising funds to aid these Bolivian Farmers and Heifer project participants, and donations will be accepted through the disaster rehabilitation fund. Heifer will provide short-term provisional support—food, water, medicine and transportation—with an emphasis on helping Heifer project participants.
According to Reuters, the torrential rains and floods have already killed 38 people and left many homeless. The floods are threatening nearly 100,000 head of cattle and some 6,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed. Furthermore, more than 40,000 households have been affected by the heavy seasonal rains since October.
Most Heifer farming families in these areas have 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 in the subsequent time due to the presence of disease."
Two artificial fishponds are at risk of being lost because of this rising of the rivers, he said. Farmers in these areas practice farm diversification, the practice of producing a variety of crops or animals on one farm, instead of specializing in a single commodity. However, many had just planted new seeds, which will not withstand the conditions of standing water.
For more on-the-ground updates on the impact of the floods in Bolivia, follow Heifer International’s blog, Facebook page and Twitter handle.
About Heifer International:
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit www.heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or call 1-888-5HUNGER (888-548-6437).