Complaining about the poor weather is a national pastime for many of us, but when extreme rains hit, the consequences are more than small talk – particularly if your life and livelihood are based on the banks of a river. Luckily, when devastating floods put the municipality of Borba, Brazil, into a State of Emergency last year, CGV and our Trocano Araretama project were there to help people get back on track.
Unprecedented flood levels
The residents of the Amazonas state of Brazil expect and prepare for the annual flooding of the Madeira tributary of the Amazon River, which expands from 10km to 48km in the rainy season, but the extent of the flooding in March 2014 communities were caught unawares, with devastating consequences. The worst floods in the region’s recorded history arrived several months before the peak was expected, causing significant damage in around 40 areas across the state. As the river levels continued to rise, river banks collapsed and the dangers began to mount. As well as cutting off communities and destroying properties and crops, the floods halted education by preventing children from travelling to school, bringing the threat of water-borne diseases.
In total, the floods of March 2014 are thought to have affected around 5,000 people. This was particularly damaging to Borba’s rural population, who largely rely on the river for transport and the surrounding land for subsistence farming. In a statement made at the time, the Mayor of Borba, José Maria da Silva Maia, expressed his concerns about these individuals ‘”losing their banana, manioc and cocoa crops.”
Trocano’s helping hand
The Trocano project donated US$50,000 to help with alternative accommodation, rebuilding homes and providing emergency supplies. As a REDD+ project, Trocano Araretama generates carbon, biodiversity and social benefits, with the latter mostly being implemented through education and construction projects (find out more by downloading our project brochure, available here). However, through the support of local NGO Iakira we’re also able to react to situations that arise, and assist residents of the project area where and how it is most needed.
Long term solutions
Since the floods, the Trocano project has been working with the people of Borba to develop plans for raised vegetable gardens, to give the population another source of income and food supply that is less likely to be affected by floods during the wet season. We are also exploring building techniques that enable houses to adapt to rising flood waters.
It isn’t just the immediate consequences which Celestial Green Ventures are looking to address. In the past, the Madeira river experienced extreme flooding in a predictable 10 year cycle, but over the last few years it has become a far more frequent occurrence. This echoes global patterns, with most experts now accepting the link between extreme weather and climate change. By preventing deforestation and reducing CO2 emissions through our Trocano Araretama Conservation Project, CGV is part of a global movement to slow the progression of climate change. Find out more about the Trocano project and how you can get involved by clicking here.