Towns in Puno Department, in the Andean high plains or "altiplano," suffered through subzero temperatures dropping as low as -25 to -35 C this winter. Children living in towns situated as high as 5,000 metres above sea level were showing worrisome levels of potentially deadly respiratory infections.
Armed with medications and clothing that FHI provided, members from congregations of the Evangelical Church of Peru distributed warm clothing to more than 2,000 children and adults in various Puno towns. FHI's Korea partner office donated the clothing, which was already on hand in FHI's Lima office when temperatures dropped.
A cash donation from FHI made it possible for the churches to purchase antibiotics, cough syrup, pain/fever medication, alcohol, and medical supplies. Local health officials helped distribute and administer the medications to 800 people.
"The towns where FHI/Peru went to offer assistance were receiving very little help, because they are communities that are very far removed form the city and are at very high elevations, making access very difficult," said Pastor Eduardo Arboccó, an FHI staff member who delivered FHI=B4s relief materials in Puno.
In addition to assistance from the church, TANS Peru Airlines provided free transport of the clothing and medicines, and the Municipality of Puno donated the land transport from Cusco to the benefiting communities in Puno.
Most of the inhabitants of the region are farmers who also maintain livestock such as llamas, vicuñas and sheep for commercial wool production.
In addition to the Puno initiative, FHI/Peru also served some 3,000 people with winter clothing distributions in and around Lima, where the country administrative office is located. Sweaters, overcoats, pants, scarves and wool caps donated by FHI's Korea office were distributed by six local churches and community leaders.
FHI has operated in Peru since 1982. Current programmes based in Lima and Pucallpa include projects in child development/education, spiritual ministry, health and the environment.