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One Year Later: Red Cross Helping Peru Earthquake Survivors Rebuild
Date:8/13/2008

The American Red Cross is still working in more than 30 earthquake-affected communities in Peru

CHINCHA, Peru, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the massive earthquake struck this region last August 15th, it left communities crumbled, infrastructure destroyed and nearly 140,000 people homeless. Although the spotlight has moved on, the American Red Cross is still on the ground, working with the Peruvian Red Cross to help families rebuild physically and mentally.

"Immediately we flew in relief supplies, Red Cross disaster experts and the cash needed to help our sister society the Peruvian Red Cross," said Eric Baranick, Head of the American Red Cross delegation in Peru, "but the outpouring of kindness and generosity from donors has allowed us to stay, helping those who lost their homes and communities recover beyond the first critical months."

In the past year, nearly 2,000 families have been given the skills and materials by the American Red Cross to build temporary wooden houses until their new permanent homes could be built. The small wooden houses provide dignity, privacy and warmth and are sturdy and flexible enough to withstand high winds and recurrent tremors.

Boards, hammers and nails cannot fix all the damage; for some, the effect of seeing their home and community destroyed runs much deeper. To help heal the psychological impact, the American Red Cross supports community activities like singing, dancing and arts and crafts.

"These activities help restore important community and social networks that are often stressed during a disaster," says Erika Velasquez, the local Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator from the Peruvian Red Cross. "We even notice the impact among our volunteers. Now we recognize our stress and lift each others spirits using techniques we learned from the American Red Cross workers. It really helps!"

The American Red Cross is still working in more than 30 communities in the earthquake affected region which is the size of New Jersey. The organization plans to stay until at least next summer, working to strengthen the Peruvian Red Cross and helping the communities get prepared for future disasters.

You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation by either contacting 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish), or mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting http://www.redcross.org


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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