As flooding, landslides, and torrential rains continue to ravage Peru, many in the South American country have heroically stepped up to save their compatriots. In Piura – like many other places across the country – a river overflowing its banks has stranded people in dangerous conditions. But a man – identified as Roberto Guzmán – equipped with a makeshift raft and a unicorn pool float rescued people from Quinta Ana María.
“These men went deep into the Quinta Ana María neighborhood to evacuate those trapped by the water, among them my sister and her dog (pictured), which he was able to save” wrote Oscar Ben-Ari Tuesta García on Facebook. “Later, they came back for us. They’ve been carrying out these rescues for hours now. In the worst moments, sometimes the best people appear. I don’t have the words to properly thank them.”
Another Piura resident captured Guzmán on video, which more clearly captured the gravity of the situation. As Guzmán glides by, you can see tops of submerged cars.
By now, artists have immortalized Guzmán’s heroic rescues with illustrations and clay models.
And though Guzmán’s inflatable unicorn has brought a little joy to a country in the midst of such devastating times, it’s important to note that Peru is currently experiencing one of the deadliest and damaging downpours in the last decade. More than 800 cities have declared an emergency. The natural disaster has killed 94 and displaced about 70,000. The unusual rains came as a result of the El Niño phenomenon – marked by the warming of the surface sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Heavy rain will likely continue until at least April. Check out our recent article here to learn how you can help and stand in solidarity with Peru.