RMF has been working in Perú since 2007, when we arrived to offer long-term medical support to victims of the August 15th earthquake. 10 years later, our health clinic, Policlínico Peruano Americano, is still operating successfully in San Clemente, Pisco, providing free health care to those most in need. In addition to the medical services and outreaches provided by the clinic, in January 2017, Policlínico Peruano Americano began serving as a base of operations to collect and distribute food, clean water, clothing, and other supplies for flood victims.
In May 2017, after several planning sessions, meetings with authorities, and trips to assess areas affected by the flooding, RMF Perú decided to focus our flood relief efforts on several affected towns northeast of the capital city of Lima: Barba Blanca, Huinco, San Pedro de Casta, Santa Eulalia, and surrounding communities in need of aid.
This report covers the first 3 weeks of project implementation, from May 18, 2017 to June 12, 2017. During this time, after procuring essential medicines and supplies, RMF Perú’s outreach team accomplished the following activities:
On May 18th, RMF Perú transported essential supplies, medicine, and medical equipment to the community center in Huinco. RMF nursing tech Lizbeth and logistics/coordination team members Guido and María Fe were commissioned to set up our temporary clinic in the community center. The 3-day clinic in Huinco was very successful and well received by the community.
Services provided during RMF’s 3-day outreach in Huinco:
On May 22nd, accordingly, we set up our next temporary health clinic in Callahuanca. The staff of the municipality supported us with amenities for the installation of the clinic, and we began providing services that same day.
Services provided during RMF’s 3-day outreach in Callahuanca:
RMF Perú traveled to the small community of Barba Blanca on May 25th at 7:00 AM and set up our temporary clinic and medicine dispensary in the shelter of a tent and awning.
Services provided during RMF’s 1-day outreach in Barba Blanca:
In March 2017, the heavy rainstorms raised the water levels of the Cashahuacra Creek, causing landslides that affected homes and roads in Huarochirí province, including the town of Cashahuacra. The community was very glad to receive our team. They provided the community center as a space to set up our clinic from May 30th to June 3rd.
Services provided during RMF’s 5-day outreach in Cashahuacra:
For 8 days (June 5–12, 2017), RMF’s team provided the community with free medical and psychological services, as well as blankets, insect repellent, and hygiene kits. Our temporary clinic was set up in the community center, and was open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Services provided during RMF’s 8-day outreach in Buenos Aires:
RMF has been active in Peru since 2007, when we provided earthquake relief and established our still successful health clinic, Policlínico Peruano Americano, in San Clemente, Pisco. 10 years later, as of March 18th, 2017, ongoing flooding and mudslides, especially in the northern parts of the country, have caused at least 90 deaths, damaged an estimated 150,000 homes and businesses, and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and crops.
RMF Peru continues to offer free health services at our Policlínico Peruano Americano, and since January 2017, we have been collecting and distributing essential supplies such as food, clean water, and clothing for flood victims. We are also continuing our health outreach campaigns and planning medical outreaches farther north, in the regions that have been hit hardest by the flooding.
Luzmila Salinas de Olivares is an elderly woman from San Pedro De Casta. She came to our clinic in Huinco very early in the morning, even before we started seeing people. The town baker had offered her a ride, because public transportation would not have been able to take her to the clinic so early. She said, “Ma’am, please attend to me quickly, because I have to get back to my hometown to attend a school parade. Today is the anniversary of the school opening, and we are hosting a parade and lunch. I am one of the 20 mothers who opened the school in 1978. We pay a professor to teach our children because there is no high school in our town. I came to the clinic because my daughter urged me to come, but I must get back before the parade.”
We attended her for her rheumatic pain, which is characteristic of her age. We gave her medicine and a blanket.
Diagnosis: Common cold and arthritis
Treatment: Loratadine (10 mg), 1 every 12 hours for five days
Ambroxol, (cough syrup), 1 tbs. every 8 hours for five days
Naproxen (pain reliever), dependent on pain
Vitamin B, 1 every day for 30 days
Much to our surprise, we also saw Luzmila Salinas de Olivares during our mission in Cashahuacra, where she was visiting one of her daughters. She explained, “My children no longer visit me. I must come and leave my house alone, but I’m only here a short time. Next, I travel to Chosica to see my other daughter, and at 6:00 I return to San Pedro de Casta.”
Luzmila Salinas de Olivares has 7 children, which she was able to provide for thanks to her work in agriculture and cattle breeding. The rains and floodwaters affected her livelihood when they destroyed 1 hectare of cherimoya and avocado trees. She is one of the people who were evacuated by helicopter after San Pedro de Casta was totally isolated with the road buried by the natural disaster.
Faustina Torres is a 41-year-old woman born in Cuzco. At the age of 8, her older brother was carrying her, when he lost his balance and they both fell. Her mother took her to a witchdoctor, who made her drink some herbs for the pain. From that moment on, she could no longer walk, only crawl. Faustina explained that her mother had no education, and because of her ignorance she never worried about the health of her daughter. A foreigner offered to take Faustina out of the country for an operation, but her mother refused outright, leaving her an invalid.
When she was 15, a friend of Faustina’s mother brought her to live in Lima. This woman was able to buy Faustina her first wheelchair and take care of her for 15 years, making her feel like one of the family. However, the family decided to move out of the country, and they could not take her with them. They brought her back to Cuzco to live with her mother, but her mother had become an alcoholic. Faustina could not stand living with her mother, so she returned to Lima. A woman helped her get a job at a retirement home in Chaclacayo in exchange for a room and board. Her job was to hand wash bed linen. Her hands were greatly affected by this hard work, and she was not able to work there for long. While attending church, she made friends with a family from Buenos Aires. The family helped her earn money by selling candy, and she was able to buy land and build a wooden house. After saving more money, she was able to build a cement home. Because of the flooding, she lost many things in her house.
Faustina came to RMF’s clinic in Buenos Aires for medical treatment.
Diagnosis: Urinary infection and gastritis
Treatment: Amikacin I/m for 5 days
Ciprofloxacin 1 every 12 hours after finishing injectables
Omeprazole, 1 per day (on an empty stomach) for 10 days