Helping Peru rebuild, one year later

Published: 21 August 2008 0:00 CET

Winnie Romeril, American Red Cross in Peru

More than one year after a strong earthquake hit Peru’s Ica region, the Red Cross Red Crescent emergency and early reconstruction phases have ended, and work to support the recovery efforts is continuing.

The quake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck the region on 15 August 2007, killing hundreds and leaving almost 700,000 homeless.

The Peruvian Red Cross, with support from the American, German and Spanish Red Cross societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has completed the building of 6,188 transitional shelters in the affected areas of Ica, Chincha and Pisco.


"Immediately, we flew in relief supplies, Red Cross disaster experts and the cash needed to help the Peruvian Red Cross," remembers Eric Baranick, head of the American Red Cross delegation in Peru.

"The outpouring of kindness and generosity from donors has allowed us to help communities recover beyond the first critical months."

In the Chincha province, nearly 60 per cent of the population was affected by the disaster. The American Red Cross partnered with the Peruvian Red Cross to help deliver transitional houses and helped nearly 2,000 families to build temporary wooden houses until their new permanent homes could be built.


Today, 64-year-old Flora Emilia Barrutia de Tasayco lives with her two granddaughters in a shelter donated by the Red Cross. In her neighbourhood of Sector Union in Pueblo Nuevo, 100 of the most vulnerable families - half of the population - received such shelters.

Three of Flora's children, plus each of their families, live behind this shelter in makeshift structures of thatch panels and plastic sheeting. When it rains, all four families cram into Flora’s house to stay warm and dry in the damp winter weather.

Santos Felipa, a 32-year-old fisherman, is starting to rebuild his permanent home, which was destroyed in the earthquake. Santos and his family lived under plastic sheeting until they received a transitional house from the Red Cross.

"The house from the Red Cross is the best thing I have received until now," he says. "My children were sick before when all we had for shelter were poles and plastic sheeting. Now we are all healthy in this good house."