SQFlex improves indians’ health in rainforest

Overview_TEXT

Overview

Along the Xingú river in central Brazil, south of the Amazonas, we find one of South America’s largest and most remote habitats for indians. The Xingú reserve is about the size of Florida and houses about 6,000 indians in a few hundred villages scattered around the huge rainforest area. The Xingú river itself and its tributaries unite and divide the indians at the same time. All transport is by chunks and small boats, there are no roads and almost no paths in the extremely swampy area, and there is often more than 30 km between the small villages.


The Situation

In spite of all this, the indians’ main problem is – water. Very few villages have drilled wells, simply because it is an enormous challenge to transport heavy drilling equipment, fuel, etc. hundreds of kilometres from the nearest road into the rainforest. And of course there is no electricity to drive pumps. A few villages have a generator, but fuel is expensive and hard to get. Therefore, the indians collect drinking water where it is easily available: in the rivers. The result is frequent stomach diseases and many people die, especially children. For the same reason most villages lie close to the riverbeds, where malaria mosquitoes are a constant threat.

 

The Grundfos Solution

Through FUNASA, Brazil’s national organisation for improving indians’ health conditions, it became possible to finance well-drilling and installation of 17 SQFlex Solar systems in remote villages so far. Another 50 systems are in the pipeline. Outside the Xingú reserve itself there are several smaller, but still isolated communities, where another seven systems are installed. Each system delivers about 5,000 l a day, so there is plenty of water for each village and its about 100 inhabitants in average. Most systems are installed by the engineering company Village Energía Ambiental, and its owner Roberto Lopes. Village is responsible for the systems during the first two years, during which local indians are trained so they can take over responsibility later.

 

The Outcome

Where the SQFlex systems are installed, daily life of the Xingú indians has changed dramatically. In one village a young mother carrying her child explains: "Everybody feels much better now, and the diarrhoea has almost disappeared. Many children died from it before. It is also much easier to fetch water now for drinking and cooking, but we get a bit lazy and wash our clothes here instead of going to the river, so we use more water". One other impact on their daily life is the possibility of growing more crops year round, and not only during the rain season. For most villages, this will create new income possibilities from e.g. coffee farming and honey manufacturing.


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Topic:

SQFlex improves indians’ health in rainforest in Brazil

Location:

Xingú river, Brazil

Company:

FUNASA

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