One Year Later: Red Cross Helping Peru Earthquake Survivors Rebuild

2008-08-13 12:29:00

    The American Red Cross is still working in more than 30

earthquake-affected communities in Peru



    CHINCHA, Peru, Aug. 13 /EMWNews/ -- When the massive

earthquake struck this region last August 15th, it left communities

crumbled, infrastructure destroyed and nearly 140,000 people homeless.

Although the spotlight has moved on, the American Red Cross is still on the

ground, working with the Peruvian Red Cross to help families rebuild

physically and mentally.



    "Immediately we flew in relief supplies, Red Cross disaster experts and

the cash needed to help our sister society the Peruvian Red Cross," said

Eric Baranick, Head of the American Red Cross delegation in Peru, "but the

outpouring of kindness and generosity from donors has allowed us to stay,

helping those who lost their homes and communities recover beyond the first

critical months."



    In the past year, nearly 2,000 families have been given the skills and

materials by the American Red Cross to build temporary wooden houses until

their new permanent homes could be built. The small wooden houses provide

dignity, privacy and warmth and are sturdy and flexible enough to withstand

high winds and recurrent tremors.



    Boards, hammers and nails cannot fix all the damage; for some, the

effect of seeing their home and community destroyed runs much deeper. To

help heal the psychological impact, the American Red Cross supports

community activities like singing, dancing and arts and crafts.



    "These activities help restore important community and social networks

that are often stressed during a disaster," says Erika Velasquez, the local

Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator from the Peruvian Red Cross. "We even

notice the impact among our volunteers. Now we recognize our stress and

lift each others spirits using techniques we learned from the American Red

Cross workers. It really helps!"



    The American Red Cross is still working in more than 30 communities in

the earthquake affected region which is the size of New Jersey. The

organization plans to stay until at least next summer, working to

strengthen the Peruvian Red Cross and helping the communities get prepared

for future disasters.



    You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year

by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response

Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through

supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The

American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your

donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation

by either contacting 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish), or mailing

your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box

37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter.

Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

http://www.redcross.org





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