Homes and streets in Lamas 70 percent destroyed
Army distributes relief supplies and assessment teams evaluate damage, seek funding to rebuild.
The Salvation Army stepped up its relief program in southern Peru after two earthquakes in quick succession on October 1 brought further devastation to the country, which had experienced a 7.5 magnitude quake a week earlier in the north, killing five people, injuring 50 others and leaving hundreds of families homeless. The double earthquakes added 300 more families to the long list of those needing assistance.
Lt. Colonel Susan McMillan reports from Peru that Salvation Army teams are busy distributing relief aid in Lamas, near Moyobamba, where homes and streets are 70 percent destroyed. Although many homes appear to be still standing, they are uninhabitable. Families want to stay in their houses for fear of losing the few belongings they still have, but are risking their lives by doing so.
The Salvation Army, aided by an emergency grant of $25,000 from International Headquarters, has set up a feeding center that provides hot meals. This money is also being used to support the distribution of basic first-response needs, including blankets, mattresses, cooking sets, plastic sheeting and cleaning materials. Septic tanks are being cleaned, and relief teams are providing support for the children and counseling to all who need it following the loss of their homes.
A typical recipient is Julio Chung, who has lived in Lamas all his life. At nearly 80 years of age, he had never before felt an earthquake of that magnitude. Sadly, he lost everything that day. Previously, his home was a place where his neighbors would congregate. Now he looks to The Salvation Army for a place to stay.
Julio is just one of hundreds of residents of Lamas who are now homeless. Many of the town’s mud-walled homes have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair and need to be demolished. Some residents have opted to begin demolition of what is left of their homes in spite of the danger, as help from outside the city has been slow in arriving. There is a sense of desperation among the community, with many people sleeping either in tents or on the streets.
In addition to the relief supplies, Salvation Army assessment teams are undertaking an urgent evaluation of homes and will be seeking funding to help rebuild damaged properties. To help, please donate to the Latin America Disaster Fund at 1-800-SAL-ARMY or at www1.salvationarmy.org.
—IHQ news release