Weeks of heavy rains have caused the worst flooding in Peru in decades, killing more than 90 people and affecting an estimated 742,000. Many people are in desperate need of shelter, medical care and humanitarian aid.
SOS Children’s Villages operates 12 Villages across Peru and provides support to more than 120,000 people. At least three SOS Villages have been affected by the floods, as well as hundreds of families supported by the SOS Family-Strengthening Program. In the following interview, a staff member from SOS Children’s Villages Peru shares how the floods have affected the country’s most vulnerable communities.
What is the overall situation in Peru?
Many parts of the country are in a state of emergency. Torrential rains have triggered floods and landslides, making access to affected areas very difficult. Many communities were entirely isolated and food prices increased. This inclement weather forced schools to close temporarily and interrupted basic services such as water and electricity.
How were the SOS Children’s Villages affected?
The main impact occurred in Chosica, in the central coastal region, where we have two villages: Esperanza and Río Hondo.
At the SOS Children’s Village Esperanza, heavy rains have damaged the roofs of family houses, causing leaks and some infrastructure damage. There are 38 children living in eight SOS families.
SOS Children’s Village Río Hondo is home to 11 SOS families, including 54 children. This [SOS] village is located on the bank of the Rímac River, and rising waters threaten the stability of the [SOS] village’s external wall. As a precautionary measure, three SOS Families moved to homes that are at a safe distance from the river wall.
In northern Peru last month, SOS Children’s Village Chiclayo suffered damage when heavy rainfall overwhelmed the public sewage service and disrupted water and power supplies. In order to prevent further damage, the 12 SOS Families, including 57 children, moved temporarily to safe places. The families have since returned to the [SOS] village. Although they are currently safe, the continuous rains risk new flooding.
Are children and families safe?
Local emergency action plans have been activated in each village. All the children, [SOS] village caregivers and staff are safe and healthy. They have access to basic services. However, transport disruptions mean that the families must travel up to an hour to get food supplies.
What is the status of SOS’s Family-Strengthening Program?
We have 4,230 families participating in our SOS Family-Strengthening Program nationwide and more than 550 have been severely affected. An assessment of their needs has been difficult to do because the floods and mudslides have blocked access to communities in many cases.