AJWS Responds to Flooding in Peru


AJWS Responds to Flooding in Peru

February 11, 2010

Heavy flooding and landslides from some of the strongest rains in Peru's history have left the indigenous people of Cusco and the surrounding regions of Huancavelica and Puno in crisis. Flood water has closed roads and railway lines. Up to 3,000 homes have been destroyed and approximately 35,000 people are without basic infrastructure.

The emergency response from the Peruvian government has prioritized evacuating foreign tourists over meeting the needs of local indigenous communities.

“It took five days before the Peruvian president sent a group of 50 low-rank soldiers to provide support to indigenous farmers whose crops had been destroyed,” reported an AJWS officer who traveled to Peru to assist flood victims.

In partnership with AJWS and with Peruvian Congresswoman Hilaria Suppa—a strong ally of Peru’s indigenous population and the first politician in Peru’s history to take the oath of office in an indigenous language—members of Mujeres de Anta, an AJWS grantee in Cusco, were among the first to provide emergency assistance to indigenous communities.

At a time when flood relief efforts are extremely limited, AJWS is providing humanitarian aid to organized groups of Peruvian women who are often neglected in times of crisis.

In addition to providing emergency health support and food, AJWS is supporting Mujeres de Anta to provide long-term assistance to 50 women whose lives have been adversely affected by the flood. Mujeres de Anta is mobilizing reconstruction efforts to rebuild homes and replant crops that were destroyed. Replenishing local agriculture production to compensate for the community's losses is a major priority.

Mujeres de Anta will also be participating in disaster risk-reduction trainings and skill-building workshops to strengthen the organization’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and to prepare the local community for future emergencies.

As reconstruction begins, Mujeres de Anta will be monitoring the Peruvian government’s humanitarian aid distribution in Cusco while also working to improve local policies on disaster response.