Spanish Red Cross to complete humanitarian help project in Huarmey

I n the beginning of March of this year, the province of Huarmey became one of the most affected places in Peru by the so-called weather phenomenon El Niño which caused flooding, mudslides and avalanches of rocks and as a consequence many diseases due to the lack of fresh drinking water. According to the mayor of Huarmey, Miguel Sotelo, 90% of the population was affected by this climate emergency, as well as much of the land used for agriculture. Thousands of people lost all their belongings such as their houses or a simple thing like a matrass to sleep on. Reconstruction works are still taking place and are executed mainly by the Central Peruvian Government, the Regional Government of Ancash and the Peruvian Red Cross.

Fortunately, there is also foreign help for Huarmey citizens offered by the Spanish Red Cross, for example, who are putting in efforts to contribute to the reduction of the effects caused by floods in the district of Huarmey. The Huaraz Telegraph spoke briefly with Daniel Boyano Sotillo (33) from Sanabria, Spain, who is about to complete this humanitarian help project in Huarmey being the Spanish Red Cross delegate in Peru.

What is it you´re doing in Huarmey exactly Daniel?

¨Well, I am the Red Cross Spanish delegate in Huarmey and we work in coordination and collaboration with the Peruvian Red Cross. There are about 15 volunteers and two people are hired to realise the project. I am the only European in Huarmey but if you would take the whole affected coastal area of Peru, there´s also Germans of the German Red Cross doing humanitarian work.  Concretely speaking, I am doing the coordination so the affected people of Huarmey can receive their Temporary Housing Modules (MTV, Módulos Temporales de Viviendas). Additionally I am responsible for the distribution of over 1,500 hygiene kits and also over 500 kits de abrigada which contain blankets and mattresses for example, and for the under aged there´s also children’s hygiene kits which contain products especially for them. The kits are handed over in a in a coordinated, efficient and transparent way to avoid any type of corruption. It important that these items reach the people who need it the most.¨

Having been stationed in Huarmey for almost half a year now, how would you qualify the current situation?

¨I arrived in Huarmey at the end of May, maybe the beginning of June and in March when the disaster happened, in Spain the project was formed and funding was obtained. I´d say that the situation has improved a lot in Huarmey; streets are a lot cleaner and local businesses are revitalizing bit by bit, so it seems. However, there´s still much to do. It´s worrying that the river that caused the floods in Huarmay has been left untouched and it´s suffering from siltation. This means that when the heavy rainfall in the Andes starts, the river in Huarmey easily will burst its banks again and we can start all over again. The local population has responded very well with our aid offered. According to calculations about 2,000 locals have been able to receive some type of help and especially those who were living in tents, these people are now living in MTVs, which is a big improvement. However, to reconstruct the whole area, an inventory study is needed. This is the task of the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation of Peru. At the moment, off the record, there are still approximately a hundred people living in tents but a study is required to know the exact conditions.¨

If I may ask, what is the satisfaction that the job gives you?

¨I feel really pleased with the job we have been able to realise. It´s interesting to do the coordination with different institutions and people. I believe we have obtained the results we were hoping for and maybe even better than that. We have been able to help more people than calculated in the beginning of the project. Another important achievement is that we were able to purchase many materials for a lower price as calculated. Hopefully the volunteers who are still active in the area will continue to do so.¨

Photo: Daniel Boyano Sotillo

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