ACT Appeal Peru: Assistance to flood afflicted - LAPE11

Originally published


Appeal Target: US$ 197,906
Geneva, 21 June 2001

Dear Colleagues,

From mid-February until April this year there were intense rains in the highlands of Puno in the southern region of Peru. The waters of Lake Titicaca rose to an extraordinary level destroying crops and washing away entire villages. Nearly ten thousand families have been affected, forced to abandon their homes and losing their crops, livestock, homes and equipment.

Due to the loss of livelihood through the destruction of crops there is an acute food shortage. Food prices have consequently rocketed sky-high, well beyond the means of the average peasant who normally lives from hand-to-mouth, barely eking out a living from the bare and desolate landscape. The nutritional status of children is declining dramatically due to the lack of available food. As the harvests have been completely wiped out, there will be no locally grown food in the region until April next year.

The ACT members in Perú are proposing to help the most vulnerable families affected by the food shortage caused by the floods and to increase their capacity to deal with future emergencies. The activities will be implemented through PREDES and KAIROS, who will develop the following activities:

  • Food distribution
  • Provision of seeds and tools for agriculture activities
  • Training in disaster preparedness

Project Completion Date: 30 September 2001

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s) 197,906
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network 197,906

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 102539/0.01.061 (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Genève 3

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
ACT Coordinator
Rev. Rudolf Hinz
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.


ACT Committee Peru composed of:

  • Center for the Study and Prevention of Disasters (PREDES), coordinating entity
  • Lutheran Association for Communal Development Aid
  • Lutheran World Relief (Andean Regional Office)

The ACT Committee, Peru will act as a partner organization and will stay informed of the progress of the Project. The ACT Committee moreover, will visit the project zone to verify the advances and results and ensure that the project runs smoothly.


Center for the Study and Prevention of Disasters (PREDES)

PREDES is a member of the ACT network and currently carries out the role of group co-ordinator in Peru. PREDES is a Peruvian NGO that has worked since 1983 helping vulnerable communities, many of which have been affected by floods, droughts, mudslides, and earthquakes - these tend to be the most destructive disasters in Peru.

PREDES is a humanitarian organization which specializes in, and dedicates itself towards providing support to overcome risk and disaster situations. It carries out educational programs and provides technical advice, accompaniment and material aid to victims. In order to do so, it collaborates with local organizations such as municipal authorities, ecumenical groups, churches, and NGOs. PREDES was an ACT implementing partner during "El niño" emergency.


Kairos is an organization that belongs to the Ecumenical Net of Solidarity and Development - a coalition of institutions and organizations that co-operate and work together to solve social and development issues.



Puno is an administrative territorial unit within Peru, located in the southern highland zone. Puno skirts Lake Titicaca and shares a common border with Bolivia.

Much of this region is located between 3,900 and 5,000 meters above sea level. Approximately 25% of the territory in northern Puno, however, consists of mountainous jungle. The territory is crossed by two stretches of the Andes Chain of Mountains, leaving in-between a flat, high region with a lake. The lake is fed by four rivers, which bring water from glaciers in the mountains.

Puno's climate varies between cold and very cold. There are heavy rains between October and March, which lead poor peasants to cultivate resistant products like potatoes, quinua, and tarwi. Due to factors of extreme altitude, most of the land is used only as pasture for livestock.

Peasants welcome the rains, since they have a long history of severe droughts which are typical in this region. The rains give life to the land turning the hills and meadows green and replenishing water supplies as well as adding to the glaciers and rivers. The greenness lasts until the beginning of May and coincides with the harvests. Afterwards, the rains become scarce, the sun beats down and burns the plants, and the landscape turns yellowish - the result of early morning frosts. Low temperatures become more and more common.

The difficult climactic conditions and the scarceness of exploitable natural resources make peasant life in this region extremely hard.

Current situation

There have been intense, almost incessant rains in this region since the middle of February. These have produced floods in the plains, rivers have broken their banks and the water level in Lake Titicaca has risen extraordinarily high, washing away villages near the shore along with cultivable land, animals and crops. Services and infrastructure have also been severely affected.

Repercussions for human life

As a result of the flooding, nearly ten thousand families have been affected in some way or another, losing their crops, their livestock, their homes and all their equipment. The population had to abandon the flooded areas either to live in tents or in improvised emergency shelters made from salvaged materials. Many have since returned to their flooded homes but the most vulnerable are still in a critical situation – most having lost the modest investments they made in crops and livestock, which would have sustained the families until the following harvest. The cold, combined with the waterlogged/humid environment and damp clothing automatically leads to bronchial and respiratory illnesses. Such conditions are also conducive to gastrointestinal and skin diseases. Potable water sources have been lost making the risk of diseases that much greater.

Due to the loss of livelihood through the destruction of crops there is an acute food shortage. Food prices have consequently rocketed sky-high, well beyond the means of the average peasant who normally lives from hand-to-mouth, barely eking out a living from the bare and desolate landscape. The nutritional status of children is declining dramatically due to the lack of available food. As the harvests have been completely wiped out, there will be no locally grown food in the region until April next year.

This disaster also occurred within the context of a grave economic crisis which began in Peru in October, 1998, and which still continues. It has left millions of people without work, leading them to leave urban areas. Due to the economic recession, the consumer capacity of workers has dropped substantially. Banks no longer provide credit for businesses and have serious difficulties recouping previous loans.

Nevertheless, peasants affected by the floods in Puno are not recipients of credit from any bank, since they engage in subsistence agriculture and sell only a small surplus of their harvest. Their small herds serve as capital which they can fall back upon in order to withstand extraordinary expenses or emergencies

Emergency Response

Local municipal authorities along with some international NGOs have assisted families affected by the flooding during the crisis phase. The following Government authorities assisted the most urgent needs in the zone:

  • The Regional Administration Transitory Council (CTAR-Puno) presides over the Regional Emergency Operations Committee.
  • The National Alimentary Program (PRONAA) distributes food.
  • The Civil Defense has distributed tents for provisional housing, as well as blankets.
  • The Ministry of Health is drawing up a plan to distribute medicines and water purifying materials to existing health establishments.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture is carrying out a detailed evaluation of damages to crops and livestock.

Once the crisis period was over these institutions left the area. However, the needs of the post crisis phase are even more pressing as it concerns the means of subsistence of a population that normally has to fight to make ends meet.

During the emergency KAIROS, in coordination with a committee of pastors from Puno, made a needs assessment in the affected areas. An Ecumenical Network for the emergency was created. They were providing assistance to the affected population during the emergency with food collected within their congregations. They have been providing pastoral care and assistance through the churches in the region.

PREDES, collaborating with the Andean Regional Office of the Lutheran World Relief, sent a team to the zone in order to evaluate damages and needs. PREDES maintains relations and contact with the emergency command unit, the local governments, and the NGOs and thus continues to monitor the development of the emergency. The report by PREDES is on the following website: As PREDES participates in a committee of NGOs which co-ordinates aid efforts in the affected zone, local authorities have requested PREDES assistance in the process of emergency management and reconstruction. PREDES also carried out a workshop for the local communities, social organizations and local authorities on the transition from the emergency to the reconstruction activities.

Due to the lack of assistance during the post-crisis phase, the ACT members of Peru has decided to participate providing complementary support to the initiatives that are already in the region as follows:

  • OXFAM UK is intervening with a public health emergency program in the districts of Coata, Ilave, and Pilcuyo. This program will clean and restore flooded wells and will provide safe water.
  • Caritas is collaborating with the Catholic Relief Service providing blankets and shelter.
  • Doctors without Borders distributes limited supplies of chlorine dispensers for water.
  • ADRA is active in the region of Pilcuyo, where it is helping with the organization of victims in shelters, water treatment, and the construction of latrines.
  • Care has donated fuel and water containers.
  • The Board to Coordinate the Fight Against Poverty in Puno (which unites public authorities with civil society to carry out poverty alleviation projects), has decided to intervene in the emergency. Currently headed by Caritas Puno, it will facilitate collaboration on disaster relief projects. It recently held an inter-institutional collaboration workshop to address the emergency in Puno.
  • In a similar vein, but aimed at helping the reconstruction and rehabilitation process, the Aymara Board for Reconstruction has been formed in the province of Collao. This group joins mayors, public organizations and leaders of peasant communities to reach agreements regarding ways to relocate populations situated in high risk flood areas.
  • Local NGOs working on development topics are increasingly interested in supporting the recovery of affected populations. With this goal in mind, they are developing small support projects.

Description of damages:

The following is a chart of damages elaborated by PREDES. It combines information gathered in the field with information from other sources.

Chart No. 1: Families affected by loss of housing and equipment

No. of families
Vilquechico, Taraco, Arapa
San Rom‡n
Juliaca, Caracoto, Suchis
Coata, Huata, Capachica, Paucarcolla, Atuncolla, Vilque
El Collao
Pilcuyo, Conduriri, Ilave
Juli, Pomata, Zepita, Kelluyo, Desaguadero, Huacullani, Pizacoma
Lampa, Vila Vila, Ocuviri, Cabanilla
San Antonio de Putina
Putina, Ananea, Quilcapuncu, Sina
Sam‡n, Chupa, Mul-ani, Caminaca
Information as of March 23, 2001.

Chart No. 2: Families affected by loss of crops

Families affected
Total population
Value (in thousands of dollars)
Total crops affected
Total crops lost

Proposed places of intervention:

The Project will provide help in the districts and localities listed in the chart below. There are in total 4,127 families. The Project will assist 2,000 of these families.

Districts and Localities
Number of inhabitants
Number of families
No. of families without housing
No. of families without crops or livestock
Coata-Atuncolla, Capachica, Huata, Paucarcolla

These locations have been selected because the emergency situation is more complex in nature there. The flooding has not only harmed agriculture and livestock production in these locations, but has also damaged housing, basic services, schools and roads, among other things. Populations in these areas are currently isolated by the floods.

There are already some institutions at work at these locations. For example, Oxfam GB is currently in Coata, but is only working on water treatment and recovery of wells. ADRA-OFASA is working on shelters, sanitation, and housing in the district of Pilcuyo and Ilave. In the areas where Oxfam and ADRA are already at work, the Project will supply the population with relief and assistance which these organizations do not provide. In the zones where these institutions are not present, the Project will provide all the forms of material assistance included in this proposal. Workers will collaborate at all times with the Regional Emergency Operations Command, and with the organizations at work. In this way, the Project will complement their actions and provide greater benefit to victims.

Current safety situation

Currently, the rains have stopped and the lakes have reduced to their normal levels. Although the principle roads are still unstable the highway around the lake continues to function, as does the railroad that links the capitals of affected provinces, such as Ilave, Puno, Juliaca, and Huancané.

The relief items will be transported via truck from the cities of Juliaca and Puno to Huancan in the north and to Ilave and Pilcuyo in the south.

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