Friday afternoon I stepped out of my yoga class in Cusco, Peru feeling the buzz of relaxation and calmness that had settled over my body in the past hour of practice. I spotted a flier on the front desk that read “Help the flood Victims!”. Flood? Where? This was this first I heard about the flash flooding that had over half of Peru in a state of emergency. This is what I have learned over the course of the past few days.
The Peruvian government has announced the floods are from this year’s El Nino which is a current in the Pacific Ocean the affects weather paterns. The waters became unusually warm causing tens times the average rain fall this season. “There hasn’t been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (weather.com)
Since yesterday the death count has reached 72, according to BBC, due to uncontrollable water slides that have swept away over hundreds of thousands of homes leaving an estimated 100,000 people homeless ITV reports. Bridges and roadways have been washed away along with homes, property and crops. This leaves people stranded in floodwaters without access to clean water to drink or cook with. While the rain has halted for a moment more is expected in the upcoming month and for now standing flood waters have taken over cities and towns across the coast in northern Peru.
Emergency response was sent by the Peruvian military to evacuate people from their homes during the initial flooding. The health ministry has begun fumigating standing water to prevent spread of mosquito born illnesses. On lists of relief items to donate bug repellent is in high demand almost as much as bottled water. Al Jazeera reported that the government has begun relief efforts involving distribution of necessities as well as setting up tents to shelter those who lost their homes in the devastation.
I have seen donation centers mainly collecting water here in Cusco. Badly needed items include: Non-perishable food items
Oral rehydration solutions
Medicines: Bismutol, cold & flu pills
There are other ways you can help if you are not in Peru. I found this relief organization based out of California that you can donate a monetary amount to a specific cause or send requested items to. Directrelief has partnered with Peruvian based aid organizations to distribute resources to affected areas.
Donate to Directrelief below:
There is a lot of individual efforts happening on the internet like gofundme for relief efforts. You can google ‘How to help Peru floods’ and several such as the linked below will come up. If you would like to donate to a smaller organization or an individual this is a good option.
Essalud, a Peruvian based aid organization is working to set up refugee centers in Lima and the surrounding area that resources are being sent to. I have also heard surrounding South American countries have agreed to help with aid efforts to their neighbor Peru.
I will be contacting people in Cusco to gather more information on fund raising events and relief efforts. More to come as information unfolds involving more potential rainfall and post rainfall aid and reconstruction.
Below is a list of links where I gathered my information from: