El ‘niño costero’ in Peru exposed the precarious conditions in which millions of Peruvians live. As the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, we witnessed the mudslides and floods uncovering the lack of basic services and poor land management that affect our people in many parts of the country.
We visited the families in Carapongo and Cajamarquilla in Lima, bringing some help but above all our faith and commitment to accompany them in this process of reconstruction. Like us, thousands of young people and adults across the country gave their time and energy to help the thousands of families that were left with nothing. For me, those actions were very life giving and continue to motivate our commitment to the care of our common home: because the cry of the earth is the cry of the poorest.
One situation that worried us in our visits to vulnerable families in Lima is that although people have received support from different institutions, we observed conflicts between affected neighbors. These conflicts prevent them from organizing better. To understand this conflict, we recognized that the designation 'damnified' is understood as any person affected entirely, generally those who have been left without accommodation or housing. They do not have the capacity to recover their housing or possessions. While an 'affected' person is someone who suffers disruption in their environment from the effects of the disaster. And of course, they still require immediate support for the continuation of their normal daily living.
In light of this we have seen a strong call to work on accompaniment and listening, as well as conflict management in these neighborhoods. It is also necessary to promote a culture of care, especially in the responsible management of the garbage that prevents the channels of rivers from becoming obstructed.
With the commitment to continue supporting these communities after the emergency, we continue to work together with the different Religious Congregations in Peru. In fact, it is necessary to mention that these visits are carried out together with other working groups which we are part of as the JPIC Office: such as the Permanent Commission on Human Rights - JPIC and the Kawsay Peru Network of the Conference of Religious in Peru.