Peru: Floods 2001 - Information Bulletin n° 2

Situation Report
Originally published
Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 84,000
This Information Bulletin is for information only. A DREF allocation of CHF 84,000 was released to procure relief supplies and to provide technical assistance. In addition, bilateral contributions were received rom the American Red Cross and the Red Cross Society of China.

The Situation

The department of Puno is in south eastern Peru along the border with Bolivia, and has 1,143,400 inhabitants. Torrential rain between January and May 2001 caused severe flooding throughout the department; 90% of the normal precipitation for this period fell in February alone. In January and February, major rivers swelled by 70% in relation to previously recorded high levels. Flooding damaged agriculture, fishing businesses, towns and infrastructure along the rivers. Between 19-26 February, water overflowed the banks of Lakes Titicaca and Umaya, the Laguna Arapa and the Have, Zapatilla, Ramis and Coata rivers. Levels for Lake Titicaca rose 1.29 metres. The area was also affected by the flooding in Bolivia where the Desaguadero river overflowed its banks. The situation was further complicated by snowfall and hail in the mountain areas, uncommon for the period. The combined effect of this damaged 39,063 hectares of farmland, severely impacting the local economy. In the province of San Antonio de Putina, at the confluence of several rivers, nine settlements with 6,000 inhabitants were flooded.

Numbers of Families Affected

Number of Families
Vilquechico, Taraco, Arapa
San Roman
Juliaca, Caracoto, Suchis
Coata, Huata, Capachica, Paucarcolla, Atuncolla, Vilque
El Collao
Pilcuyo, Conduriri, Have
Juli, Pomata, Zepita, Kelluyo, Desaguadero, Huacullani, Pizacoma
Lampa, VilaVila, Ocuviri, Cabanilla
San Antonio de Putina
Putina, Ananea, Quilcapuncu, Sina
Saman, Chupa, Mulnani, Caminaca

The effects of severe flooding included loss of crops and animals, shortages of food and animal fodder; loss of houses, schools and services in rural areas; contamination of wells and lack of clean water; isolation of communities cut off by submerged roads and broken bridges; gradual increase of respiratory, intestinal and skin diseases; occurrence of disease in cattle; and a shortage of fuel (wood and cow dung).

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

On 21 March, the Peruvian Red Cross launched an appeal for assistance. Contributions were received from the Federation's DREF fund, together with bilateral contributions from the American Red Cross and the Red Cross Society of China. Furthermore, a Federation relief delegate from the Pan-American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) worked with the National Society, and the regional disaster preparedness delegate also provided technical support.

Assistance was planned for 3,000 families (approximately 18,000 people) to receive: food supplies, two blankets given freezing night temperatures, a jerry can and two month supply of water purification tablets. In a second distribution, fodder and seeds were to be provided.

Beneficiary selection criteria were as follows:

  • Families having lost all their crops
  • Families with no means of subsistence (small business, cattle)
  • Family size (average of five children or more)
  • Single mothers
  • Old people with no carers
  • Handicapped people.
As a result of coordination with NGOs working to the area - including CARE, CARITAS, ADRA and OXFAM - the Peruvian Red Cross focused support in the provinces of Puno, Huancan6 and San Antonio de Putina. Beneficiary surveys were carried out by volunteers working with the three branches; a total of 95 volunteers assisted in the implementation of the operation and exchanges between branches were carried out in order to provide mutual support and to exchange experience. Since the beneficiary communities were dispersed and at considerable distances, volunteers travelled by motorbike, bicycle and on foot to carry out house to house surveys.

Given that funding received was insufficient to provide all the planned relief items for 3,000 families, food supplies were prioritized since families were resorting to eating reserves which had been stocked for later use as seeds. A revised plan was therefore drawn up for provision of assistance to a total of 2,200 families (approximately 13,200 individuals) in 70 communities, as follows:

Families Assisted
San Antonio de Putina
San Antonio de Putina

The family food parcel consisted of: 20 kg of rice; 10 kg of sugar; 10 kg of beans; 2 kg of salt; 5 kg of lentils and 2 litres of cooking oil. In addition, two blankets per family, one jerry can, a two month supply of water purification tablets and sodium hypochloride (also for water purification) were provided.

The operation took place between 5 and 27 June, with the distribution of relief supplies taking a total of three days. Warehousing was carried out at the Juliaca branch, given the location of the town between the city of Puno and the communities where assistance was provided. Coordination was ensured with the Ministry of Health in order to carry out training in both the use of water purification tablets and sodium hypochloride.


The operation benefited from excellent cooperation with the authorities, with NGOs working in the region and between Peruvian Red Cross branches. The branches of Huancane and Juliaca were, for the first time, involved in an operation of this nature. Volunteers from these branches contributed significantly to the success of the operation, and efforts will be made to ensure that they receive continued support and training. Members of the Embassy of the Republic of China and of the Red Cross Society of China attended distributions in Huancane for 1,030 families, strengthening ties between the two sister National Societies.

For a full description of the National Society profile, see

For further details please contact

  • The Peruvian Red Cross, Lima; Phone (511) 471 05 23 Fax (511) 265 87 88 email cruzrojape
  • Jan Gelfand, Federation Regional DP & DR Delegate in La Paz: phone (591) 81134 75 and (591) 155 28 74; e-mail
  • Luis Luna Phone 41 22 730 42 74 Fax 4122 733 0395; email
All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

John Horekens
Relationship Management Department

Santiago Gil
Americas Department