Action by Churches Together (ACT) International sent $48,747 from its rapid response fund to aid people in remote and inaccessible rural areas of Peru affected by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 500 people and injured thousands on Aug. 15.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the relief arm of the Anglican Church of Canada, has made an initial contribution of $10,000 towards an appeal issued by ACT.
The recently disbursed funds provided temporary emergency shelters, drinking water, medicine and food kits. “In view of the traumatic impact of the earthquake, psychosocial and community support will be given to the communities,” PWRDF reported on its Web site.
Most of those who died were from the region of Ica, south of the capital of Lima, which aid workers said was the hardest hit.
In the Grocio Prado district of Peru’s Chincha province, nearly 900 families lost their houses. Loss of electrical power rendered electricity-driven water pumps unusable, preventing access to clean water.
Lutheran World Relief and the Evangelical Lutheran Association for Aid to Community Development are also participating in the relief effort.
Emergency food kits have been sent to 250 families in affected areas of the provinces of Huaytara and Castrovirreyna; psychosocial care is also being given to 500 children.
“Following the disaster, people were without homes and had many difficulties finding drinkable water, food and shelter. Children and adults were also suffering major psychological effects,” said Gilberto Romero Zeballos, director of the Centre for Studies and Disaster Prevention, another ACT member.
ACT partners expect a larger appeal from the international body for funds. “Once the appeal has been issued, (we) will respond,” said PWRDF.
“The ACT assessment team first went to the community and organized the people in an emergency committee, which helped to facilitate fair assistance and encouraged the participation of the affected population in decisions addressing the situation,” said Mr. Zeballos.
The Associated Press has reported that historic churches were among the structures that suffered “serious damage” in the earthquake. At least 173 churches, monuments and historic buildings were badly damaged, reported Cecilia Bakula, director of the state-run National Culture Institute.
Peru’s La Republica newspaper said in early September that streets in Pisco, another area seriously affected by the quake, were still full of debris and victims continued to complain about lack of relief efforts from the government.