Since January Northern Peru has experienced the worst flooding in decades due to an unusual weakening of the normal ocean currents from the south and a buildup of very warm water along the northern coast. According to the United Nations summary, more than 700,000 people have been displaced by flooding, and bridges and roads have washed out. Roads between Lima and the North and to the Mountains are cut off, and Lima’s 7 million people spent over a week without water due to flooding and debris clogging the water plant.
For most of our artisans the water shortage and travel interruptions have been the worst impacts, but our basket makers have suffered the most. Their homes have been flooded and they have lost their entire inventory of straw and more. The most recent flooding has receded, but now mosquitos are worse then anyone can remember, so we are working to get mosquito nets to protect children and the elderly.
Alessandra and I have been in Peru since early March, and we have seen it first hand. We are also amazed at how Peruvians are responding to the disaster with multiple efforts for collecting food and clothing for their neighbors who have suffered material losses.
We have seen school children in Lima collecting food and supplies, donation centers everywhere, and aid organizations from abroad rushing to help. However, getting the supplies to those in need remains very difficult. The highways are washed out or buried, so just imagine the state of the small roads to towns and villages across Peru. If you would like to help, we encourage you to ask your favorite charities what plans they have to help in Peru, and more importantly ask your representatives and senators to push for more infrastructural and distribution aid to help the supplies get through.
We’re convinced that long-term, fair trade is the best way to enable people to recover. So please shop for fair trade products from Peru such as coffee, quinoa, fruit, and of course handmade crafts.