On 14 November 2002, the Peruvian government extended the emergency situation in nine departments in Peru for a further 60 days. Although persistent rains in the plains and in the central forested regions are usual for the time of year, flooding this year is particularly severe. The population of Madre de Dios situated in the eastern tropical zone of the country is affected by the overflowing of rivers and landslides, blocking access, as a result of which supplies of food and communications have been cut off. In Puno, floods have caused damage to roads and seven bridges, together with 44 school rooms and a health post.
The Peruvian Red Cross completed a damaged and needs assessment on 30 January in the provinces of Madre de Dios, Cusco and Puno. Results show that in Puno: 6,785 families are affected by the floods, 707 houses have been completely destroyed and 680 hectares of crops (mostly potatoes and rice cultivation) have been washed away. In Cusco: 145 families have been affected, 29 houses have been destroyed and 400 hectares of crops lost, whilst in Madre de Dios: 1,845 families have been affected, 200 houses destroyed and 4,000 hectares of crops have perished.
Conclusions of the assessment point to urgent needs for clothing, food and blankets as a priority.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
The national relief department of the Peruvian Red Cross (PRC), in emergency mode, has been monitoring the situation through radio communications with its branches situated in the disaster zone. The Peruvian Red Cross set up a campaign to assist disaster victims in the south of the country and to raise public awareness of the floods disaster. The headquarters, together with the branches of Lima, Callao, Puno, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Juliaca and Arequipa have been involved in the campaign and in collecting survey data, with the assistance of some 200 volunteers.
The Peruvian government, through the National Institute of Civil Defence (INDECI), has mobilized 189 tonnes of relief assistance consisting of blankets, mattresses, clothes, food rations, cooking stoves, cooking utensils and water containers. INDECI transported all contributions received at its donations centre in Cusco to the Red Cross branch for distribution. In addition, on 30 January, the Peruvian Red Cross transported to Cusco four tonnes of food and one tonne of clothes which will be distributed on Saturday, 1 February by the branch. This was shipped by air, thanks to the agreement made by the Peruvian Red Cross with the airline Aerocontinente. Relief goods, currently being sorted in Lima, will also be sent to the other affected provinces by the end of the week. The German Red Cross has made a contribution of tarpaulins to assist disaster victims in Madre de Dios and Puno.
Liaison is taking place with other organizations, and a chart of all activities which are being carried out in Puno, Cusco and Madre de Dios is being drawn up. The next meeting of organizations involved in humanitarian assistance is scheduled for 5 February in the CARE offices in Lima.
The National Society is considering how best to assist the communities affected by the flooding, with a view to ensuring economic recovery and rehabilitation. The PRC project office, together with the relief department, are currently reviewing proposals for such assistance, particularly in view of losses of crops and livestock. Several PNSs have shown interest in such an initiative, which could be coordinated with other projects being carried out in the disaster area.
The head of the health department at the headquarters will travel to the affected area in the next few days in order to compile data through a questionnaire which has been set out to the branches.
The PRC emergency committee urgently requires equipment for volunteers in the field including helmets, boots and rain proof coats, given the conditions in the field as the downpour continues.
The regional delegation for South America, through its disaster preparedness delegate, is ensuring coordination with the Peruvian Red Cross, together with the Pan American Disaster Response Unit, which is on standby in the event of the need for urgent assistance.
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For further details please contact :
- The Peruvian Red Cross in Lima ;
Phone Tel: (51) (1) 4710701 Fax: (51) (1) 4710701 Telegram: CRUZROJA PERUANA
LIMA E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Olaug Bergseth, Phone 41 22 730 45 35; Fax 41 22 733 0395; email: Olaug.email@example.com
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