Tuesday 17 April 2012
New sense of community for Lazaro in Peru
ShelterBox tents set up in Pumarangio in the high region of Cusco for families who had been made homeless by heavy rains and landslides, April 2012.
Lazaro Tambraico Huacho is a husband and father who had been forced to leave his home in the mountainous area of Cusco in Peru, after it was hit by a landslide. Lazaro, his wife Eulalia Medina Calle and two children were one of 51 families who had been left with nothing after their homes, possessions and livestock were destroyed by heavy rain running down the mountain to their hometown. He speaks of the moment when the disaster struck:
“We already had problems with our land but one night, after very heavy rain, springs appeared within our house. We lost absolutely everything during the landslide—clothes, furniture, livestock, everything. We had to flee and we couldn't take our belongings. We cannot return to our land as it's completely destroyed along with our irrigation system that brought water to feed our crops.”
The entire community was forced to leave to new land at Pumarangio, a town approximately two and a half miles away from their old homes, and to live in small, makeshift shelters on the side of a mountain.
Lazaro, Eulalia and their two children outside their new home, April 2012.
The area is several thousand meters above sea level so temperatures plummet at night. The majority of people had been living in freezing conditions with no blankets and rain had been pouring through their shelters. A Response Team distributed 51 ShelterBoxes to the displaced families bringing them shelter, warmth, dignity and also a new sense of community.
“The tent is beautiful,” said Eulalia. “We’re very happy and it’s nice and warm! We were sleeping on one blanket with wood underneath – it was very cold. The ShelterBox has also given us strength and bought the community closer together. We’ve never seen anything like it and it will help us rebuild our lives.”
“The whole experience has been something to reflect on. Strangers coming from a strange country and helping has really touched us – it’s motivated us to build better homes but we don’t want to return to our own land because it’s too dangerous.”
“We are delighted with our new ShelterBox,” said Lazaro. “The tools are amazing and will help us rebuild irrigation systems. Having our homes destroyed has been horrible but we've worked together and it's bought us closer as a community.”
Photograph taken by Becky Scarrot, Pumarangio, Cusco, Peru, April 2012.
UK-based ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Becky Scarrot was part of the team who spent an afternoon showing the families how to set up the tents and use the equipment:
“It's been an unforgettable day working with these families. They were amazed by the size and warmth of the tent and their motivation was incredible. After one tent demonstration, tents were springing up all over the place and the sense of excitement and gratitude was obvious.”
'Hope for the future'
The families continued helping each other put up the remaining tents after the Response Team's departure. The following day the team returned to check the tents and their progress. UK-based Phil Duloy was another SRT member who helped with the distribution:
“When we went back to check the camp, the last tents were being finished. When asked what the tents meant to them they said they had increased their fraternity and given them more hope for the future.”
ShelterBoxes have also been distributed to families in Cachora, another area in the Cusco region, and Claveles, a suburb of Peru's capital Lima.