Understanding the Local Situation is Crucial to Promoting Community Recovery

At ShelterBox we are impatient to see a world where no family is without shelter after a disaster. While this impatience drives us to move quickly to help families after a disaster, we don’t just make quick decisions, we make good decisions. The local communities know their specific issues, people, and local recovery process better than anyone else does. We work with communities and local organizations to make sure we are getting the right support to the right people when they need it.

ShelterBox currently has a team in Peru assessing wide scale flooding caused by El Nino rains. Cyclical El Nino weather patterns usually affect Peru, however, this is the most severe El Nino impact the country has ever experienced. Over 100 people have been killed, roads and bridges have been swept away, houses are flooded, and farmland has been destroyed.

Photo: Guadalupe Pardo/Reuters. Rescue teams working in Lima

ShelterBox teams are currently working with local Rotary contacts, the Peruvian Civil Defense agency and local communities to visit the worst hit areas and understand what challenges people are facing as a result of these devastating floods.

Our number one goal is to make sure we provide these communities with the tools they need not only to survive, but to recover from this disaster. We also have a responsibility to the families we serve and those who support us to be as effective as possible. In order to achieve these goals, understanding the local situation and taking time to do proper assessments is crucial.

In Piura (Northern Peru) most buildings remain structurally sound, however, until flood waters recede residents need to stay elsewhere. Community centers and schools are open for people to stay in but clean water, blankets, solar lights and other essentials are desperately needed. Some residents are choosing to sleep in unsafe conditions on the side of the road to try to get help from passing vehicles.

Photo: ShelterBox. A family outside their home — floodwaters damaged their belongings

Floodwaters are expected to recede soon in Piura and people will be able to return home. By providing supplies like water filtration, water carriers, solar lights, blankets and more will get people away from the road, and give them the tools they need for self recovery and to return home when the water has receded.

In other areas of Peru, a full shelter solution is necessary for recovery to help families whose homes were damaged by the floodwaters. By understanding the local situation, our teams have been able to identify who needs aid, and exactly what they need to recover.

ShelterBox teams will continue to work in Peru and Colombia to ensure we help affected communities receive the tools they need to recover from these devastating events.

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