What is happening with the floods in Peru and Colombia?
In mid-March 2017, Peru was struck with downpours that flooded the coastal regions of Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ancash, Lima, Ica, and Arequipa. The result? Numerous roads rendered irremediable, hundreds of thousands of homes demolished due to mudslides, and more than 100 bridges collapsed.
But it’s not only the infrastructure that has suffered.
The flood waters have left nearly 80 people dead, 70,000+ Peruvians homeless, and more than 500,000 people negatively impacted by the wrath of the endless rain. School suspensions and forced road closures have created havoc in the west and northern reaches of Peru — including the capital city (and normally desert-climate-lovin’) of Lima.
“The disaster – which came after a period of severe drought – has been blamed on abnormally high temperatures in the Pacific Ocean...,” according to a report from the Guardian. The deluge has moved further north and inland to make its mark on nearby Colombia, which has now lost more than 250 of their own as overflowing rivers ripped through the city of Mocoa and caused a massive mudslide in early April.
How to help Peru and Colombia’s flood victims?
In periods of disaster, even the most well-equipped governments struggle to cope with the trauma and the need of its people. This, coupled with humanitarian tugs and the desire to support those affected in anyway possible, comes the natural next question: “What can I do to help?” Well, we’re glad you asked.
1. Get educated.
Keep yourself informed and updated as the rivers flow and rainfall increases. More countries and regions may continue to be negatively impacted by the onslaught of rain. Read the news — especially personal accounts — regularly to ensure your interest in supporting the cause is used in the most impactful way possible.
2. Get donating.
In times of disaster relief, the immediate need often comes in the forms of dollars and cents (or sols and pesos). With drinking water scarce and other resources hard to deliver, oftentimes the biggest barrier to supplying is the lack of money to cover expenses. Here are a few resources to check out to learn more about donating to help Peru and Colombia:
- All Hands Volunteers - Peru Flood Response
- Global Giving - Peru Flood Relief
- CNN’s Campaign for Colombian Flood & Mudslide Victims
3. Get to work and volunteer.
While the immediate aftermath does call for your cash, there will still be a ton of work to do in the future to help rebuild Peru’s and Colombia’s infrastructure and help bring these countries back to life. Consider volunteering in either Peru or Colombia, if you have the time, money, and skills to work alongside these resilient countries and aid in their rebuilding efforts. There are organizations on the ground already assisting communities with flood response programs, so join them!
For more opportunities to volunteer in Peru or volunteer in Colombia, keep an eye on GoAbroad’s volunteer program directories:
Before you consider becoming a flood relief volunteer, check out resources on the experience of past-volunteers who have supported these types of volunteer projects, like this interview with a volunteer who volunteered in Haiti after the earthquake. Also, be sure to review best practices for natural disaster relief, like advice for earthquake volunteers.
Here’s a video update from one of our partners involved in Peru flood response:
How the GoAbroad Foundation is Pitching In
GoAbroad’s nonprofit leg, the GoAbroad Foundation, is not just sitting by idly as our Peruvian and Columbian brothers and sisters struggle. We are eager to help Peru in every way possible, and we are reaching out to people who know how to make the biggest impact. All pledges received in April will be donated to Peru flood relief, so be sure to pledge your support to the GoAbroad Foundation this month!
Anything else I should know?
Disasters happen. What’s important is that you do NOT lose compassion and empathy each time you learn about them. You may not be able to volunteer for every project or travel to pitch in to disaster relief with every incident, but you CAN advocate for a more caring world and you CAN sacrifice your coffee fund for the week to instead donate. Every little bit helps — whether that’s interest, advocacy, money, or solicitude.