Lima, Peru, June 15, 2023 — With over 682,000 people affected by floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in Peru, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) expanded its ongoing work in the country through an emergency response.
Since January 2023, rains caused by the El Niño costero phenomenon have unfolded in a series of emergencies in Peru, including floods and landslides. The IRC carried out a rapid assessment in Piura, Tumbes and La Libertad to identify priority needs of communities heavily affected, which included input from 587 Venezuelan and Peruvian households. Following the assessment, the IRC identified as critical needs:
- Medical assistance. Access to health care was mentioned as the main need by 32% of surveyed Venezuelans and 30% of Peruvians. In the face of potential disease outbreaks caused by the heavy rains, such as acute diarrheal disease, acute respiratory infection, dengue, malaria, or leptospirosis, less than half of the surveyed people reported having access to health insurance.
- Access to food and water. At least 9 in 10 Venezuelans and 3 in 4 Peruvians reported earning less than the minimum wage, which decreases the resiliency to the effects of disasters. The lack of financial resources resulted in people listing access to water (27% of Venezuelans and 22% of Peruvians) and food (24% of Venezuelans and 29% of Peruvians) as the second and third main needs.
Marianne Menjivar, Country Director for the Venezuela Crisis Response at the IRC said:
“Peru has become one of the main hosts for Venezuelans—with over 1 million having arrived in the country in recent years—despite sorting out its own challenges, climate change included. The country contributes less than 0.2% of global CO2 emissions, yet its inhabitants are experiencing an outsized impact from climate change. Given the severity of this crisis, which is defining our time, we need to ensure that both migrant and host communities receive timely support to survive, recover and regain control of their lives while and after being impacted by disaster.”
In 2022, the IRC launched operations to support Venezuelans and members of host communities in Peru. Through programs focused on health, economic recovery and development, women’s protection and empowerment and child protection, the IRC has assisted more than 17,000 people. As it is expected that the heavy rains will continue at least during June, the IRC is expanding the work through an emergency response to reach 2,700 people, financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through its Rapid Response Mechanism and in partnership with the local organization PRISMA. The response covers three lines of action:
- Temporary shelter: provision of accommodation vouchers for people on the move to find safe places until weather conditions improve.
- Dry food kits: provision of dry items in amounts approved by the Working Group for Refugees and Migrants that are necessary to cover the food needs of a 3-member household for four weeks, based on a diet of 2,200 calories. The food kits include legumes (such as beans or lentils), rice, flour, vegetable oil, tuna, evaporated milk, oatmeal, and sugar.
- Multipurpose cash: assistance to help families complete their Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) for a month, including the cost of fresh food.
The IRC’s response to the Venezuelan crisis
With the Venezuelan crisis in its 7th year, the IRC is actively working to promote durable solutions, with an approach to bridge humanitarian needs with long-term development opportunities and sustained results. With presence in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru–and working through local organizations in Venezuela–the IRC’s work includes ensuring that government systems are strengthened to respond to multiple needs of host communities and migrants. In Peru, the IRC’s response has been funded by the European Union; US Government funding provided by the United States Department of State through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM); and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through its Rapid Response Mechanism.