ShelterBox finds families in need in the Amazon
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has found a need for emergency shelter in isolated areas of northern Peru, following on-going floods in Iquitos city and the surrounding area that have caused widespread displacement.
The team's primary relief efforts are focused in the outlying areas of Indiana, Fernado Lores and Los Amazonas, all of which are regions that are hard to reach but have the most need.
'Entire villages are submerged underwater, forcing families to put their belongings on buildings' roofs and live on planks of wood,' said SRT volunteer Malcolm Shead. 'But believe it or not these are the lucky ones. There was one family living like this in Los Amazonas region and were the only family there. The other neighbouring families have been forced to retreat far into the depths of the jungle to find higher ground.'
The 13 members of the C. Jata Bardales family are one of the few who have a two-storey house in their village of Pueblo Yagua. The first floor is underwater. They are therefore living on the second floor, which they have elevated as water levels continue to rise. Other families in the village who had a single storey house have fled to high ground.
'It's really tough on the children being so confined in such a small area in the house. They are only able to go outside on a boat,' said Mrs. Bardales. 'At least the people who have moved inland can meet with friends and walk around. We cannot do that here. But we can't leave the house now as we have nothing to sleep under, no shelter, and as it still rains we would just get wet. We are scared though that the water will come up higher and we will run out of space.'
The Response Team has been working with the local government to plan the logistics of delivering boxes in these hard to reach areas.
'Field assessments have been challenging for us as many of the areas can only be reached by boat and travelling time can take many hours,' said Malcolm. 'Luckily our SRT training has prepared us to deal with the risk posed by travelling around these damp and unusually inhospitable areas.
'Also the collaborative approach to aid delivery is where ShelterBox works best - working with local authorities to tackle the inaccessible communities and bring them shelter, warmth and dignity as soon as possible.'