Mitigation work for El Ermitaño Nueva Frontera Santa Bárbara

The families of the community El Ermitaño are seeking alternatives to address the landslides and crop losses that are caused by the yearly rains during the rainy season. These landslides also pose many other serious threats to the community.

On a recent visit made with the water board of the community of El Ermitaño, in coordination with the Municipality and CASM (Mennonite Social Action Commission), a program supported by Church World Service, we witnessed the construction of work being carried out to channel the yearly rainwater away from the community and the hope to reduce the effects to the roads and livelihoods of the families.

It has been the families in El Ermitaño who organized themselves to address the situation of the dangers created by the landslides and mudslides in hopes to find long term solutions and make their community a safer place. The community of El Ermitaño is made up of about 120 families and 180 homes. The water board of El Ermitaño has 9 members from the community.

According to Edin Giovanni Escobar, President of the water board of El Ermitaño, this work is the second of its king to be held for this purpose, where there is the tripartite coordination between the local Municipality, the community water board and CASM.

Edin shared that this community is very vulnerable due to the soil conditions of the land and it’s steep slopes of the surrounding mountains, which each year during the rainy season causes some kind of damage and affects the community families, putting them at risk of loosing their homes and crops.

The main road is the only access to the community, thus, to keep it in good condition is a priority for families who live and pass by that way.

The current project is the construction of a canal of 97 meters, which diverts the flow of water away from the community, preventing the rainwater from its current path of destruction to the main road, homes and crops.

CASM with the support of Church World Service has financially contributed the project. Meanwhile the municipality of Nueva Frontera and the local water board have hired and contributed the local labor and material in order to carry out the construction. The goal is to have the construction finished by the first two weeks of December this year.

Cesar Soriano, CASM field technician, who works directly with the community showed his appreciation for the work being carried out by the community. It has been a work in progress for the last four years with community leaders, the water board and the municipality participating actively in the development of the community and promoting sustainable agriculture with trainings and materials, besides joining these kind of efforts for the well being of the beneficiaries and their families.

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Photos left to right:
Doug Smith, Projeto Meninos e Meninas de Rúa, Paul Jeffrey, Rick Reinhard, Martha Farmelo

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