Emergency Mission Report:
Six Firemen from
One specialist from SamusocialPeru
Four days: From Thursday, 17th to Sunday, 20th august.
The first SamusocialPeru and
Frontieres (PSF) team, (3 firemen from PSF and a specialist
from SamusocialPeru) that we sent by car on Thursday, 16th August in
the morning arrived in the afternoon (less than 24 hours after
the earthquake) in Chincha Alta, one of the locality that was hard
hit. It took them a long time to get there because
the road had been severely damaged. The situation
they found in Chincha Alta was pretty grim: 70% of
houses were destroyed, no light, dead bodies in the
streets, hospitals full.
The team spent time transporting
wounded people to the hospital and helping out with first emergency
aid. Then they spent most part of the night cruising the streets and
explaining to groups of people how to get organized as the situation
is pretty chaotic: people were in the streets, there was no light,
almost no drinking water, dead bodies were piled up on the "plaza
central" or near the hospital, looters were looming and the local
authorities were almost absent. They explained to people the basic
hygiene rules to help reduce the risks of disease and the spread of
infections, and they brought comfort to a lot of people who were
happy to see that some help was on its way.
The next morning, (Friday 18th) the team left Chincha Alta to go to
Pisco. They arrived there at 9AM. They immediately contacted the
local authorities; the "Defensa Civil". But they realized that they
were overwhelmed by the situation. As a result, every aid group that
arrived had to organize their help alone and without coordination.
As a result, the aid is very slow. So our team worked with the
Peruvian firemen, who are the biggest group of aid so far (around
500 of them), to organize the aid by cutting the city in "sectors"
and by sending all the aid groups in specific "sectors". When a new
team arrives, it is sent to a sector that needs it.
Three more firemen from PSF left Lima in the afternoon in a military
airplane and were able to join our team at the end of the day. They
brought with them special equipment to help detect people still
alive under the debris. This search work for survivors was done in
coordination with the local Peruvian firemen.
The team also spend some time at the Pisco military airport helping
organizing the evacuation of wounded people to Lima.
In Lima, the SamusocialPeru staff bought 1000 (one thousand)
specially designed meals and organized the transport to Pisco for
the next day with the Peruvian firemen in a special convoy to try to
avoid the looting. The meals consisted of non perishable food. every
meal included tuna (in can), chocolate bars, biscuits as well as
water and fruit juice (one liter each).
On Friday evening our team worked from 8PM to almost 1AM on Saturday
at the Embassy Hotel site in Pisco. They joined a team of Spanish
firemen. Unfortunately they could not find anybody alive. Only dead
On Saturday the team continued to work on this site with other teams
from Peru and other countries. At 2PM, 15 dead bodies were
Our team then went to the hospital where they started bringing first
emergency help to wounded, evacuation of wounded to airport, etc...
In Lima, the 1000 special meals were given to the Peruvian firemen
at 5PM and a special convoy left for Pisco. One volunteer from PSF
was with them to help check on the food. The convoy reached its
destination and the food was distributed in the evening.
On Sunday, our team continued bringing support to the local
hospital, but it also received 4 French firemen who arrived in the
afternoon. They were sent to a little village near Pisco called
Bernales (3000 inhabitants, 95% destroyed) where they were going to
stay 2 days before going to another village. People in Bernales were
very happy to see those firemen as they were the first aid they had
seen since the earthquake...
In the evening 7 more French firemen arrived and the same thing was
done: sending them to villages in the vicinity of Pisco, which was
very good because at this stage, all the aid was concentrating on
Pisco, leaving those villages alone.
In the evening, the mission was over, everybody was exhausted and
they went back to Lima.