In the past three months, heavy rain has caused severe flooding across South America. This flooding has caused extraordinary damage to towns and villages in Peru, where they have received over 60 inches of rain, overflowing rivers and destroying vital water, waste, and transportation infrastructure. CHOICE Peru was established in 2010 working with 12 families. That number has now grown to well over 300 families.
CHOICE builds leaders through economic development in extremely poor areas of the world. We are a ground-up organization that develops local leadership through effective training. This capacity development produces village leaders who then identify priorities and formulate an action plan to achieve those priorities. We are NOT typically an emergency relief agency. However, it has become clear in recent weeks, that it’s possible to do short term and village driven relief providing food, shelter, and warmth, within the scope of the CHOICE Model. Here’s how: CHOICE is using funds for tarps, blankets, mats, hand sanitizer, soap, beans, salt, rice, cooking utensils and purification water drops. Addressing relief methodically with village leadership, without knee-jerk reaction, is turning all eyes back to what we do best – lead with local people in long-term, sustainable recovery.
On the ground leadership and guidance is critical in responding to disaster situations like this. Peru will face the chaos of both the torrential rains and flooding, but also of coordinating the aid efforts from local, national, and international organizations. This chaos can dramatically slow relief efforts as organizations duplicate work or get bogged down in red tape and bureaucracy – as seen in other disaster responses around the world. The CHOICE team has established relationships with the local leaders, and this proves to streamline our relief efforts as we work directly with them and thereby avoiding red tape.
Nationally this flood has destroyed more than 115,000 homes, leaving more than 150,000 Peruvians displaced, and killing over 100 people. In the Piura region, the flooding has destroyed over 350 homes and displaced 4,000 families. Over 70% of the region is flooded, leaving huge amounts of standing water – a critical health risk beyond the physical damage done by flooding. Based on the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, these health concerns are also a key priority, as three million people are at risk of vector-borne diseases (chikungunya, dengue, leptospirosis, and Zika), diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.
CHOICE Humanitarian, through its offices and local staff in Peru, are working to aid those whose lives and livelihoods have been displaced by the devastating floods in Piura. The CHOICE staff have lived and worked in these communities for years and can guide disaster relief efforts directly to the communities in the direst situations.
These communities are enduring and are hopeful about rebuilding their homes, but they need our support to do so. CHOICE Peru has put other constructions and training projects on hold and is focusing 100% on disaster relief within the scope of the CHOICE Model.
CHOICE Humanitarian office headquarters is raising funds to support the immediate needs that will make the biggest difference in the lives of Peruvians. CHOICE Peru has reallocated funding from development projects to support the disaster relief now, but these funds need to be replaced for the Peru team to continue their community development work after the flood has passed.
“We have been overwhelmed with the feeling of brotherhood as we have seen the generosity of our friends and neighbors here in Peru as well as caring people all over the world. We have been able to help many suffering people, but the need is great. Due to your support, we see the smiles as we deliver the food, cooking pots, sleeping mats, and tents. In a camp of 2800 families, we have delivered dozens of large cooking pots enabling people to cook rice and beans for those in the camp. Thank you for helping us make this possible.” Wilmer LaMadrid, CHOICE Peru Director
Donate now and support CHOICE Peru flood relief effort. We so invite you to join us in Peru this summer as we work with our Peru team to support rebuilding efforts in impacted communities. Expeditions will be supporting relief efforts in July and August 2017.