News Front Page

Friday 07 April 2017

ShelterBox Responds to Flooding in Peru
ShelterBox Responds to Flooding in Peru

Families across Peru are reeling from the effects of record rainfall.

Throughout March, intense rains caused widespread flooding and landslides, leaving 94 dead and almost a quarter of a million homeless.

Thousands of families have been left without even basic shelter, losing their homes and their livelihoods.

But the recent flooding is nothing new for these families. Peru has been experiencing periods of heavy rainfall since December, and Peruvian authorities are calling this the worst El
Niño-related flooding in recent history.

The main affected areas are still neck-high deep in water, but as the relief efforts continue, more and more people will need our help. We cannot greet thee families with empty hands.

Help us give hope to these families, and thousands more around the world, who have been robbed of their homes.

"Houses are full of the thick mud. Many houses built from less substantial materials have simply been destroyed."

Tim Vile - Response Team Member


Tim Vile shares his reflections on visiting some of the worst affected areas.

'We flew 600 miles north of the Peruvian capital, Lima, to reach the flooded area.

The small town of Catacaos is very close to the river and has been flooded by about a metre of water several times now. The low lying flat land means the water doesn’t run off easily and the strong sun has turned dirt roads into muddy quagmires.

Houses are also full of the thick mud. Many houses built from less substantial materials have simply been destroyed.

We saw people still very much in the early effects of a disaster. None of the hustle of usual daily life. There is a pervasive smell of congealing river mud and stagnant water. 

The only dry area is the embanked main road. I met a family who are living on the verge, which is only about 2 metres wide at best. Without shelter from the sun or rain they try to live, eat and sleep on this narrow strip sandwiched between busy traffic and stagnant, stinking water. They have had to kill two snakes so far and feared there would be more. With genuine tears they told me they had not had drinking water for some days but the tankers were now starting to deliver.

We also assessed a rural area called San Pablo where some Peruvian Civil Defence emergency tents are being deployed. People here are mostly farmers who have had their homes and crops destroyed by the water surges. More people are arriving everyday, walking across the fields to seek help.

As a person who spent over 34 years in the Fire Service, I encountered people in crisis many times. But I still find the imploring looks of desperate people the strongest motivator to continue volunteering for ShelterBox.'

Key Stories