For months, torrential rain, overflowing rivers, flooding, and landslides have upended the lives of Peruvians. According to the Associated Press, the unusual rains are a result of the El Niño phenomenon – marked by the warming of the surface sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. With about 811 cities declaring an emergency, one of the deadliest and damaging downpours in about a decade affects half the country. The rains have killed more than 70 and displaced about 70,000. As the rains continue to disrupt and damage, people like Hilario Mejía and his family are dropping everything to help those who most need it.
Hilario, who lives in Canto Grande, and his family – Luis, 22; Ivonne, 20; Fernanda, 13; and Diego, 11 – have passed out sandwiches and other treats to those affected by the flash floods in San Juan de Lurigancho. “I haven’t suffered through the same things as other people,” he said. “I saw on the news that many people have nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.” Hilario hopes to grow his small team so that they can help more Peruvians.
Surrounding countries like Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela have pledged their help. And outside of South America, people are also finding ways to contribute. In Brooklyn, for example, Llama Inn asked patrons to show solidarity with Peru by dropping in for a bite. The restaurant donated 100 percent of its proceeds to the victims of the floods.
Heavy rain is expected to continue until at least April. As the country reels, here’s how you can help:
#UnaSolaFuerzaNYC Vol. 1
#UnaSolaFuerza Vol. 1 – organized in conjunction by Veronica Garrido Lecca, Raymi NYC Restaurant, Help Peru, Yaqua, LatinLover Magazine, and All of the Things – takes place on March 26 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event costs $50, and includes performances by Pauchi Sasaki, Yuri Juárez, Huevito Lobatón, Verónica Alvarez and Lorenza Bernasconi. 100 percent of the ticket sales will go toward Help Peru, which will buy water for those affected. The EventBrite page is even taking donations.
Meraki Peru is an NGO looking to help people have become isolated because of the flooding. “Highways are flooded and closed due to impact, several towns have become isolated, which is why the logistics are complicated,” the organization said. “[With your support] we can get to the most affected places and acquire gear and provisions.”
Meraki is looking to raise $50,000 – a goal it has almost met.