Since December 2016, ongoing flooding and mudslides in Perú have caused at least 90 deaths, damaged an estimated 150,000 homes and businesses, and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and crops. Northern Perú has been most affected, as well as the capital city of Lima. In a live broadcast to the nation, Perú’s president, Pedro Pablo Kaczynski, stated,
“There hasn’t been an incident of this strength along the coast of Perú since 1998.”
Many flood victims are from poorer areas, where their makeshift homes were quickly overrun with mud and water. As the Peruvian government works to recover and people struggle to find shelter, food, and clean water, weather services predict more rain in the coming weeks.
On Friday, March 24, 2017, RMF Perú’s team planned a medical outreach and traveled by car to Pámpano, a village that is usually about 1 hour inland from San Clemente. Due to the state of the roads, the trip took about 2 and a half hours.
The team could only travel with extreme caution due to the “huaicos,” or landslides.
RMF Perú’s team heard reports of children with dengue fever in Pámpano, and so we traveled there with supplies and examined the children at the local school. Thankfully, we found no symptoms of dengue. We treated most of the children for parasites and the flu, however, which are also more common because of the inclement weather.
Increased cases of Zika and dengue have been reported in several regions, especially in northern Perú, and the many stagnant pools created by heavy rains and flood waters increase the risk of these and other mosquito-borne diseases.
RMF Perú’s team had also hoped to visit Palpa and Nazca farther south, since there are more people affected by dengue in those areas. However, we were not allowed to travel there because of the risk of infection, and were told that vaccines would be necessary (dengue vaccines typically cost $130 and are difficult to find).
Although the city of Pisco and the area of San Clemente, where RMF’s clinic Policlínico Peruano Americano is located, have not been hit as heavily as some regions of the country, even here we are seeing higher food prices, property damage, and flooding.
RMF Perú continues to provide free health services at our clinic, Policlínico Peruano Americano, as well as additional aid for flood victims, including supplies such as food, clean water, and clothing. We are conducting additional health outreaches as well, and strategizing ways to expand our services further.
RMF has been active in Peru since 2007, when we provided earthquake relief and established our still successful health clinic, Policlínico Peruano Americano, in San Clemente, Pisco. 10 years later, as of March 18th, 2017, ongoing flooding and mudslides, especially in the northern parts of the country, have caused at least 90 deaths, damaged an estimated 150,000 homes and businesses, and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and crops.
RMF Peru continues to offer free health services at our Policlínico Peruano Americano, and since January 2017, we have been collecting and distributing essential supplies such as food, clean water, and clothing for flood victims. We are also continuing our health outreach campaigns and planning medical outreaches farther north, in the regions that have been hit hardest by the flooding.