Peru’s Civil Defence assists ShelterBox in Flood Relief

SRT volunteers Yi Shun Lai (US) and Graham Henerson (UK) with beneficiary in Peru, April 2012.

SRT volunteers Yi Shun Lai (US) and Graham Henerson (UK) with beneficiary in Peru, April 2012.

ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) have been able to distribute emergency shelter to landslide survivors in hard to reach areas in Peru’s Apurimac region, thanks to ShelterBox’s collaboration with the national Civil Defence Department. 

Ruth Mary Huertas Gutierrez is the Community Service Officer in Abancay; a city nestled deep in the southern Andes Mountains; where she has also been working with SRTs to assist in the distribution of ShelterBoxes.

Ruth Mary’s work involves visiting far-flung villages and settlements only accessible by 4×4 vehicles. She knows each of the villages intimately, and they know her, often greeting her with hugs. With her work, knowledge and relationships with these isolated communities, the Response Teams have been able to deliver aid to them.

Peru's Civil Defence Department's Community Service Officer Ruth Mary Huertas Gutierrez, April 2012.

Peru's Civil Defence Department's Community Service Officer Ruth Mary Huertas Gutierrez, April 2012.

‘Ruth Mary picked up on our operation structure and our methods very early on,” said SRT volunteer Graham Henderson (UK). ‘She was able to bring us news of families and villages that we wouldn’t have heard of if it wasn’t for her.’

Another municipal employee, Porfilio Rio Gutierrez, has been working closely with Ruth Mary; and have both been volunteering their spare time to transport the SRTs to isolated villages that need help. Their good spirit and deep ties in these communities has helped SRT volunteers to target the most needy areas surrounding Abancay.

Belle Vista Camocho Baja is an area that sits on a small river. Miguel Rimanche Dominguez, a member of the community there, alerted a Response Team that there were several families in need of shelter, whose homes had been damaged in the landslides. He offered to look over the small ShelterBox camp set up there and volunteer to help put up tents in other communities.

Photograph taken by SRT volunteer John Cordell (US), April 2012.

Photograph taken by SRT volunteer John Cordell (US), April 2012.

‘It’s this kind of relationship that sets ShelterBox apart,’ says SRT volunteer Yi Shun Lai (US). ‘Miguel, Ruth Mary, and Porfilio have become a critical part of our grassroots network, and we’re deeply grateful that ShelterBox’s methods of operations allow us to seek out and find such important community members, whether they be official employees of the community or not.’

ShelterBox has distributed 408 ShelterBoxes to Peruvian families made homeless by the recent landslides caused by ongoing heavy rains.

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