Community support in Peru

Yolanda's story

Yolanda was visiting her sick daughter in the hospital the day that the flooding hit her village in Peru in 2017.

As she heard the rain pelting down, Yolanda knew she would have to return home to work on her leaking roof, as the water would be coming in. With her husband, Santos, away at work, Yolanda had no choice but to mend the roof herself. But she couldn’t have anticipated what happened next.

Yolanda’s home was one of thousands that were destroyed by the hauyco – a flood of mud, debris, and soil that swept through communities, leaving devastation in its wake.

We ran across the street and grabbed a mattress but that was all we took with us. We ran into the building across the road, which had a second floor and ran onto the roof.

We waited up there for hours – we couldn’t come back down because the floor was completely flooded, so we spent the night on the roof.

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Returning home

Once the flood had subsided, Yolanda and Santos went to inspect what remained of their home.

Yolanda said:

‘We came back here to rebuild the house. We didn’t have much left, but this is our land.’

Luckily for the couple, ShelterBox was able to support their community by providing shelter kits, full of materials to repair homes, and small ShelterBoxes filled with essential household items like solar lights.

We had a talk about the materials and how to use them, and people gave us instructions on how to build the shelter.

A home with ShelterBox aid items

Then we received the shelter kit and ShelterBox. I told my husband about the instructions I had been given and he built the shelters we have now.

Now we are less cold. Everything we received was good and we have used everything.

Rebuilding as a community

Many families lost everything in the hauyco – not just their homes and livelihoods, but their personal items. Photos, clothes, bedding and even kitchen utensils were lost.

Without ingredients or even the means to cook, families were going hungry. So many areas started up community kitchens, where different people would take in turns cooking for the whole neighbourhood.

In doing this, people not only had food, but the chance to spend time with their friends and family, who had also been through the trauma of the hauyco.

Yolanda was one of the cooks working on the day our team visited, along with Estela, Ely and Rosmary.

Yolanda said:

The community kitchens have really helped us and have helped everyone as no one has any money or any food.

‘Today we are cooking lunch for 100 people in the local community. We are making rice, beans and beef steak with onions and peppers.

We take it in turns to cook, so each day a different family cooks for the rest of the community. Today it is our turn, we are very proud of our sauce and our seasoning.’

In Peru, families have been able to stay in their close-knit community and start to rebuild again. Your support means that we can help communities like Yolanda’s to start the process of recovery after disaster strikes.

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