United Nations support and relief aid reach disaster area
The death toll from the Peruvian earthquake disaster has risen to 503 dead and 1,042 injured, according to the National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI). More than 34,400 houses and four hospitals have been destroyed and 11 hospitals suffered considerable damage..
A state of emergency is still in effect in the Department of Ica, and in the Province of Cañete (Department of Lima). Chincha, Cañete, Pisco and Ica are suffering from water shortages and lack of electricity and sanitation. There are not enough health facilities to meet current demands. The most urgent humanitarian needs at the moment are water, water containers, water purification tablets, tents, tarpaulins, electric generators, portable beds, blankets and tools to remove rubble. Eleven provisional shelters have been arranged. Local authorities predict that 2,000 tents will be received, but that 5,000 more are needed.
Mario Tavera, UNICEF Peru Health Officer and member of the United Nations Mission visiting the most hard hit areas, stated that the city of Ica suffered less damage than Pisco, with power and water services gradually being reestablished. “We estimate that the biggest problems are found in the outskirts of the city where there are about 9,000 damaged houses (to be confirmed) besides 300 collapsed classrooms in 90 schools so far. It is not likely classes will start before September; the earth is still trembling, kids are frightened, and parents do not want to let go of their children,” he said.
After visiting Ica’s shattered hospital, Tavera highlighted the fact that there are no oral re-hydration salts or rapid HIV detection tests. The latter are crucial as Ica region has the most rapidly growing HIV rate in the country. He also stressed the need to focus on orphaned and other vulnerable children, but pointed out that information and precise figures on such children are not yet available.
“Help is reaching the affected areas very irregularly, so it is necessary to strengthen community organization. People sleep outside their house and over the ruins to save the few belongings that were not destroyed,” said José Navarro Grau, Mayor of Chincha.
The UNDAC team has already arrived while an interagency mission (UNDSS, UNDP, PAHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDAC) is working in the affected areas. In addition to the items already sent, UNICEF is providing 514,800 chlorine tablets and 3,000 water containers for distribution through the Ministry of Health as soon as possible.
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