PERU VM UPDATE: OVER 24,000 HELPED IN THE DISASTER RESPONSE
- Flooding and mudslides have damaged or destroyed almost 24,000 homes.
- Rains and flooding have damaged more than 100 bridges, hampering the ability to bring in needed supplies.
- An estimated 700,000 people have been affected by this disaster.
- There are now over 40 VMs providing assistance to the people of Peru, with more scheduled to arrive.
A top Volunteer Minister Disaster Response team is on the ground in Peru bringing help to people in the most critical areas following the extreme floods and mudslides.
With support from an emergency grant from the IAS, the VMs arrived in Peru on 25 March. There are now 41 VMs in the disaster area including members of Los Topos and CINAT, the Colombian first aid specialists. There are also nine civil engineers on the team, who are assessing structural damage to homes so they can be repaired and people can return to them.
On their arrival, the VM team met with disaster response officials who requested they go to one of the worst-hit areas: the coastal city of Trujillo in northwestern Peru—the third largest city in the country, with over half a million residents. Conditions there were extreme.
With the main bridge into Trujillo damaged and other access roads still closed, getting needed supplies to the city was very difficult. The government assigned Los Topos and the VMs to Trujillo because few else could be trusted to go there due to the bad conditions.
The flooding and devastation in Trujillo had reached all the way into the city center and damaged its water system, causing authorities to reduce water supply to much of the city. The floods had also breached the waste treatment system, flooding homes with water and sewage—houses with families still living in them. The VMs began by clearing mud and debris out of these homes, giving particular attention to those unable to help themselves—senior citizens and mothers with small children.
With an emergency medical center set up in the city, the VM and CINAT team has already delivered medical care to hundreds of people.
In the short time they’ve been in Peru, the IAS-sponsored VM team has already assisted more than 24,000 individuals.
But the disaster is far from over. Due to ongoing rain, new floods and mudslides are continuing to occur. For example, in the city of Pedregal, the river broke its banks and flooded the town. The need for help was so urgent that a Peruvian general woke the VM team in the middle of the night to request that they help with the evacuation. The VM team and Los Topos were taken to the town in military transportation where they evacuated people from their homes, including a family of four with their two-month-old baby.
Because of the escalating scale of the disaster, additional VM teams are being dispatched to Peru to bring much needed help to the most critical areas.