On August 15, 2007 at 6:41 pm, a violent 8.0 earthquake shook more than 20,000 square miles of Peruvian soil for 2 never ending minutes.
The disaster left 520 dead, 40 missing, 1,500 injured, and more than 75,000 homes were destroyed. The quake shook inland villages, as well as cities near the coast and the mountains.
While residents in Lima were only challenged with power outages, cellular network collapses, and panic-driven traffic jams as folks rushed home to check on their loved ones; the poorer communities to the south were battered with total destruction.
Logistical challenges and organizational chaos led to the isolation of many impacted communities which were in desperate need of basic human necessities to survive.
The quake epicenter was located 25 miles (61 kilometers) west-northwest of Chincha Alta, Peru, and 90 miles (161 kilometers) south-southeast of Lima, according to the U.S. Geological Service. The epicenter was 25 miles (47 kilometers) below the Earth's surface. During the first 12 hours after the quake, a total of 17 tremors with magnitudes ranging between 4.5-6.3 continued to cause panic and desperation.
The coastal town of Pisco, about 160 miles (257 kilometers) south of Lima, was the hardest-hit with 85% of its dwellings destroyed.
By the following morning, reports began to flow to Lima and spread across the 1.8 million Peruvians living overseas. The impact was much worse than ever expected, and it continued to worsen by the hour.
A deep feeling of compassion and solidarity spread across all levels of Peruvian society breaking down deep rooted socio-cultural barriers. In Lima, the rich and the poor turned to the call for help.
The central and local government emergency response systems were suddenly overwhelmed with the widespread need for search and rescue, medical assistance, food, and shelter.
The logistical challenge continues and while the recovery effort makes slow headway, thousands of survivors who lived in extreme poverty before the disaster have lost it all.
San Clemente, with a population of about 24,000, is one of 8 districts of the Pisco Province and it was by far the hardest hit community.
While some areas of San Clemente received assistance others were not. Our strategy consisted in identifying those areas, determine their needs and deliver the help Directly. We made a Difference.
The district grew considerably in size during the nineties with the influx of thousands of people displaced from their homes in the Andean region of Ayacucho and Apurimac by the violent armed conflict between Shining Path guerrillas and government forces between 1980 and 2000.
San Clemente's irregular settlements, situated on a patch of desert land just five kilometres from the center of Pisco, seemed as if they have been stepped on by giants.
The people of San Clemente had very little to begin with. Twenty years ago they fled their homes with nothing to start something and give their children a better future. Now they have lost it all again and must rebuild from nothing and with nothing.
On September 1, 2007, we visited settlements of San Clemente to assess the current needs of the earthquake victims. It became evident that aid was not being uniformly distributed and some areas were still not getting any assistance.
We found that the neighborhood extending along Cuzco street, San Isidro Street and ending at El Porvenir, one of the youngest area settlements, was somewhat forgotten. On September 8th, our local coordinator, a friend and resident of San Clemente identified a total of 30 families in inmediate need of the following:
- Food & Drinking Water
- Temporary Shelter & Blankets
- Water Collection Facilities
- Basic Medicines
These struggling families include 65 children and 10 single/widowed mothers.
The initial focus was in getting these families the basic assistance they needed including water, food, and shelter. Thanks to the kind contributions received during the first 5 days after the quake we were able to put up tents, deliver water, medicines, and food to the community. Our first objective was met but only through your Compassion!
Our volunteer team in Lima is ready to coordinate the acquisition, delivery, distribution, and report back with full documentation of the assistance given required to reach our objective:
We want to serve as a Bridge to bring them the Compassion they so desperately need.
Help us... Make a Difference.
Our project is a reality…
Since 2015, the community center officially began serving as the Initial Education Institution No. 910, "San Clemente Confraternity."
Throughout the last 10 years, our relationship with the community has become increasingly strong and we could understand that the residents of San Clemente were not different from us, because they shared the same values and, naturally, wanted to live with dignity. Therefore we feel obliged to continue our mission and we remain committed to helping them continue to build a better future for their children.
The community center, now school-shelter, will greatly help achieve this goal.
At present, the community has been actively involved in the administration and maintenance of the center, which supports our vision to motivate young people and adults to develop social responsibility habits that will make them models. This will create a chain of reaction that will continuously improve the quality of life of each person and appreciate moral values.
After several years of perseverance and teamwork with the community, the authorities, and all those who from a long distance supported the project, have achieved a true reality.
We and the community are very grateful for the progress made and we are fully committed to continuing to support the community. The impact has been very positive for local residents, which reaffirms our belief that "We are making a difference."
Your continued support is extremely important. We thank all those who have contributed and we ask those who do not please help us with our mission in San Clemente. There, much is achieved with little.
Please continue to support your cause. It's all thanks to you.
Donations are tax deductible.