US$ 13.85 million to meet food needs of Peru earthquake victims
Livelihoods of thousands of poor farmers and fishermen threatened
28 August 2007, Rome – In the wake of the earthquake which devastated Peru’s Southern coastal region killing more than 500 people, destroying over 39 000 houses and leaving over twice this many people homeless, some US$13.85 million is needed to help feed and restore the farming and fishing based livelihoods of the affected population, FAO said today.
In the worst hit cities of Pisco, Ica, and Huancavelica, where 85 percent of the population have been affected by the earthquake, FAO is currently supporting the Ministry of Agriculture to assess the damage by collecting information through aerial surveillance and field surveillance missions.
FAO has already raised over US$1 million but significantly more funding is needed to assist an estimated 160 200 people living in rural areas along the coast and in the Sierra mountain region, to repair damaged farming and fishing infrastructure and replace the means for food production. In urban areas, assistance will also focus on helping people grow their own food through home and school gardens.
The majority of the rural population are farmers, fishermen and women and workers whose daily lives are threatened by hunger due to the loss of crops, animals, lack of access to fuel, power and water and access to their lands and means of survival. Farmers and fishers make a significant contribution to the economy and labour force but many are feared to have lost livestock, tools and agricultural equipment, as well as suffered from damage to their lands and irrigation systems.
The area affected by the earthquake, ICA Department, home to nearly 700 000 people, and the second highest cotton producing area in Peru, is also among the major producers of important export crops such as grapes, chilli and onions. As a result of damage to farms and fishing enterprises, affecting water and power supplies, exports are expected to be severely affected with poor farmers and labourers most vulnerable to the loss of income.
“The situation is much worse than originally estimated. In addition to the hungry and homeless, the devastation to farms and fishing communities is likely to have a profound effect on the local economy”, says Mr Luis Castello, FAO Representative in Peru, currently assisting relief workers to assess the damage.
The United Nations has launched a US$37 million appeal for funds to assist the victims of the earthquake over the next six months. Of the US$13.85 million required to meet the food security needs of the population, including emergency provision of food supplies by the World Food Programme, FAO is appealing for US$7.7 million to help restore production activities in both rural and urban areas.
Media Relations, FAO
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