After heavy rains flooded the southern Andes of Peru washing away towns and making tens of thousands homeless, Andy Dare, a Brit is Cusco, went out to inspect the damage and help in aid efforts. 18 days after the severe floods washed away the town of Lucre, Andy went back for another visit and reports on what he found.
The river was back to just being a small stream but there was not else much changed.
There were still lots of debris everywhere, collapsed houses & the air was filled with dust which was the remains of people’s houses.
But there were visibly more tents in the area & in the central plaza there was a volunteer youth group from Lima handing out clothes, blankets & aid.
I went back to the once pretty high street & the semi collapsed houses were still there, nobody daring to enter them for fear of collapse.
Access had been made in the road, but that meant that the mud had simply been shovelled to one side, next to the destroyed houses.
People seemed remarkably able, & everyone said good afternoon to me almost as if nothing had happened.
The truth though is that Lucre & the other affected villages are in a terrible state.
There are many people living in tents, with little in the way of food & clothes, but the big problem is the harvest has been ruined just before harvest.
Thus the villagers have no income, & no food, & this is going to affect them for at least the next year, possible more if the ground does not recover.
The President Alan Garcia has decided for political reasons & to make Peru look better in the world limelight, to donate $10 million to the Haiti aid fund to improve the life for kids & improve water distribution.
Clearly there’s a problem in Haiti, but you’d have thought that after declaring the region in a state of emergency that he would have helped his one people & voters first.
There are 100, 000 people affected by the floods in Peru & the longer lasting effects of the failure of the crops will be felt for a long time to come.
After I wrote about the floods in Peru for the BBC news website, I received many emails, but one stood out as remarkable.
Julia a teacher at Churston Ferrers Grammar school wrote to say that 5 years ago they twinned with the school in the village of lucre & was interested to know more about the conditions.
4 years ago they organized their first visit to the school & 2 years later three teachers from Peru visited the UK school too. Out of all the schools in the UK, Churston Grammar School was only was MY old school – Amazing!
Ion my recent visit to Lucre I searched out the head teacher Manuela Vera Zela & we spoke for ages on the problems, needs & links with the schools.
The biggest problem is clothes, as most of the collapsed houses happened so fast they had no time to rescue any of their processions. Also basic needs are books & pens & Pencils. The families have to buy these, but with no income from the crops this year they will not be able to afford anything.
Manuela also suggested that clothes for adults too would be good, as the nights are starting to get colder as being in the southern hemisphere we are starting to move into winter now as well.
Also Tents are still in need. The school in Lucre is actually shut for the summer holidays just now. This is a help as there are currently 30 families living in the school buildings, but in about 6 weeks time the kids will be back to school, forcing the families out to look for alternative shelter.
Aid is arriving but its being spread pretty thin as there are so many other villages with similar problems throughout the region.
I spoke with the kids who were really fun & upbeat about things. I explained about my connection with the UK school & the older kids remembered the visit from the UK children which was nice.
I explained that I knew that the next day the Torbay schoolkids had organized many events especially to help Lucre & Huacarpay & they recorded a short message in English to say thanks to the schools of Torbay for their help – How nice indeed!
– Andy Dare