Lima/Geneva, 25 March 2017 – The Peruvian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are calling for urgent support for communities affected by severe flooding and mudslides across northern Peru.

The emergency – which followed three days of heavy rain on top of an usually heavy rainy season – has affected more than 672,000 people and claimed 85 lives with a further 20 people still missing. Flood waters have caused extensive damage, including to houses, medical and educational centres, and crops.

“This really is the worst disaster for the people of northern Peru in decades. Its severity – and the speed with which the waters came – surpassed the capacities of a population to cope,” said Michele Detomaso, the head of the IFRC team in Peru who took part in Red Cross assessment of flood affected areas this week.

“People told us of homes and people simply being washed away. We also saw a number of health issues that have quickly emerged as priorities. We’re very worried about the potential for outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya.”

In response, IFRC and Peruvian Red Cross have launched an emergency appeal for 3.9 million Swiss francs (USD 4 million) with the aim of supporting 50,000 people in the worst-affected departments of Piura, Tumbes, Lambayeque and La Libertad. Red Cross volunteers will work with communities to put in place epidemic and disease prevention and control measures, such as community education in early detection and prevention of diseases and campaigns in communities for vector control. Red Cross teams will also provide families with clean water and water containers, along with basic hygiene supplies.

Another key focus of the operation will be on helping communities rebuild lost or damaged livelihoods. To this end, the Red Cross intends to distribute unconditional cash grants to about 1,000 families. Provisions have also been made to address the immediate shelter needs of families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed, as well as measures to bridge any gaps in food supply that the flooding may have created.

The urgency of the situation is made worse by predictions that heavy rains could continue into April.

“This emergency hasn’t generated a lot of international attention, but it is worthy of our concern and action,” said Walter Cotte, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas. “The national response has been incredibly impressive, and now we as an international community need to do our part. Here we have a space to walk the talk supporting local, national and regional levels to respond sufficiently to the needs.”

The Peruvian Red Cross is coordinating relief efforts closely with the Peruvian government and planning further, more detailed assessments to capture the full extent of damage and humanitarian need.

To access the appeal click here and the appeals section of IFRC is available here:

To access the appeal click here and the appeals section of IFRC is available here: http://www.ifrc.org/en/publications-and-reports/appeals/

 

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Media contacts

In Panama: Diana Medina, (English and Spanish), +507 6780-5395, diana.medina@ifrc.org, Skype: medinadiana30

In Lima: Michele Detomaso. +51997555639, michele.detomaso@ifrc.org, Skype michele.detomaso

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 8039, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org

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