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DIFFUL SOLAR PUMP---Somerset farmer visits Bolivian flood-hit communities

DIFFUL SOLAR PUMP---Somerset farmer visits Bolivian flood-hit communities
Issue Time:2017-09-15

Liz Crew, from Moorland was invited to visit the Beni region by Oxfam which is raising awareness of how poor countries are becoming more vulnerable to extreme weather.DC solar powered pump

Ms Crew said: "The heat and humidity and the amount of water there is so much more, but the link is that we're both having to come to terms with excess rainfall and managing where we live, so there is a common bond between us."

Large parts of the Somerset Levels, including Moorland, were severely flooded last winter and Ms Crew had to sell her livestock and show horse.

She visited the villages of Mangalito and Soberania in the Beni region.

Ms Crew also visited the Pim co-operative on the outskirts of Trinidad, the capital of the Beni region, where they use "camellones", a 3000-year-old irrigation system.

"When Kenneth Lee was surveying oil stocks for BP, he came across the man-made structures. He went back with another scientist and they found these camellones were an ancient system to protect crops from the water," she said.

Graciela Morales, 36, who lives with her family in Mangalito, said: "When the floodwaters come, we are surrounded on all sides.

"And this lasts for months - the water stagnates. The children get sick too, just with their legs in the water they catch diseases."

Soberania, a remote village which can only be reached by boat, is populated mostly by nomadic people, who have settled in order to educate their children.

Ms Crew said: "They've got their houses up on wooden stilts and on wooden platforms so that as the river encroaches on the land, they can dismantle them and move them further back."

After her visit, Ms Crew pledged to raise funds for a solar-powered water pump for Soberania.

She said: "It's not just very hot, it's unworkable, you cannot physically move water from the river as far as they need to get it up to irrigate their crops and they can't afford diesel for generators.

"These people work hard, they're not lazy - I could not carry a bucket of water from the river to where the crops are - it needs pumping."

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