Scientology Disaster Response Helps Peru Recover from Devastating Floods
This year’s El Niño brought relentless rains to Peru’s desert coast, creating havoc through flooding and mudslides that have decimated the country and neighboring Ecuador and Colombia, killing hundreds and displaced thousands more.
When a freak weather system brought devastating flooding and mudslides to Peru, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) and their partners, Los Topos search and rescue specialists and CINAT (Colombia Circle of Aid Technicians) EMTs, responded at once with the help of the International Association of Scientologists.
Intense rains cause rivers to swell and overflow their banks, flooding towns and cities and collapsing more than 100 bridges. Some 11,500 houses have collapsed, another 12,000 are uninhabitable and the floods have blocked or damaged roads and railways, severely hampering rescue operations.
With some 400 hospitals significantly damaged, it has also added to the challenge of caring for the injured and ill.
On their arrival, the VM team met with disaster response officials who requested they go to one of the worst-hit locations, the coastal city of Trujillo in northwestern Peru, a metropolitan area of more than 680,000.
The main bridge into the city was damaged by the flooding and other access roads were closed, making transporting needed supplies to the city a severe problem. Flooding had devastated the entire city including its historic city center. The thriving metropolis had been brought to a standstill. The city’s water system was also compromised, and floods had breached the waste treatment system. Homes were flooded with water and sewage.
The VMs cleared mud and debris from homes of those unable to help themselves, including seniors and mothers with small children.
In their first week in Peru, working in the emergency medical center, the VMs and CINAT delivered first aid and medical care to hundreds of people.
But the flooding continued to ravage the country and the VMs were awakened in the middle of the night by a Peruvian general, calling to request their help with the evacuation of the city of El Pedregal. Military transportation brought the search and rescue-trained Volunteer Ministers and Los Topos to the city where they evacuated people from their homes, including a family of four and their two-month-old baby.
In Porvenir, one of the hardest-hit areas, VMs cleaned mud from houses and provided assists—techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard to help people recover from stress and trauma. They worked side by side with CINAT who treated those with wounds or infections.
Los Topos also deployed to set up a camp in the desert at Santa Rosa. Only 10 percent of the 8,000 victims had shelter from the sun and mosquitoes. As many as three families were sharing a single tent. Lack of water was also a major problem. An air force helicopter brought Los Topos and a team of VMs to the camp, where they provided emergency medical care and built temporary housing.
The Scientology Peru Disaster Response continues. Volunteer Ministers will remain in the area until the crisis is over.
A global network of Volunteer Ministers mobilizes in times of man-made and natural disasters, answering the call wherever needed. Collaborating with some 1,000 organizations and agencies, they have utilized their skill and experience in providing physical support and spiritual aid at hundreds of disaster sites.
The motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister is “Something can be done about it.” The program, created in the mid 1970s by L. Ron Hubbard and sponsored by the Church of Scientology International as a religious social service, constitutes one of the world’s largest international independent relief forces.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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