VMs IN PERU AS HEAVY RAIN CAUSES FLOODING AND DEADLY MUDSLIDES
- Flooding and mudslides have damaged or destroyed almost 24,000 homes.
- 111,000 people have been displaced and are in need of shelter and supplies.
- With 10 times the normal amount of rainfall, this is the worst flooding Peru has seen in more than 20 years.
- The first 35 VMs have arrived on the scene to bring immediate assistance.
Torrential rains in Peru have caused severe flooding and mudslides that have affected more than 780,000 people in northern and central areas. This is the worst flooding in the country in 20 years. The intense rains have caused rivers to swell and break their banks, flooding towns and cities. Surging waters have collapsed more than 100 bridges and blocked or damaged roads and railway tracks, severely hampering rescue operations. A state of emergency has been declared across half of the country due to the devastation. According to the National Institute of Civil Defense, more than 11,500 houses have collapsed and a further 12,400 houses are uninhabitable. The floods have also caused significant damage to 400 hospitals, making it difficult to treat all those that are injured.
The IAS immediately provided an emergency grant to send an international team of top Volunteer Ministers and emergency rescue personnel to assist in the disaster response activities. This includes two specialist teams: the elite Mexican search and rescue team, Los Topos (“the Moles”), and members of CINAT (the Colombian National Circle of Aid Technicians), who are skilled in emergency medical care. The international team will be joined and assisted by a team of local Peruvian VMs. The grant from the IAS covers the cost of airfare for the international VMs and the operational costs of the whole team. It also covers everything needed, from emergency rescue equipment to VM booklets.
Among the first to mobilize were 10 members of Los Topos who went into immediate search and rescue operations in the foothills of the Andes where mudslides had collapsed numerous homes. Also in the first wave of VMs were six members of CINAT to provide vitally needed medical care. There are now 35 members of the VM team on the ground from the U.S. and Latin American countries such as Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. This includes civil engineers that will help authorities examine the thousands of damaged buildings to assess whether displaced people can safely return to their homes.
The initial priority is to save lives with search and rescue, medical assistance, food distribution and by providing assistance to those in greatest need at the shelters. The VM team will then help people to overcome the disaster and rebuild their lives with VM technology, and train others in its use to help the people of Peru to recover. This project is only made possible through IAS support, bringing vital assistance to those in greatest need in times of disaster.