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Relief in the aftermath of the Peru earthquakes

Edgard Astete

On August 15th of 2007, two violent earthquakes shook the country of Peru, killing over 600 people and destroying 40,000 houses. The earthquakes, which lasted over two minutes, were 7.5 and 7.9 degrees on the Richter scale.

After our first missions into the disaster zone, our team of voluntary members from The Family International made a commitment to continue to bring as much aid and comfort as possible to the affected people. The conditions in which the earthquake victims find themselves in today remains quite unfortunate despite all the support that the government, other nations, and individuals have done to help.

The situation of the cities is summed up in one word: disaster. The city of Pisco, as well as the towns of San Clemente and Tambo de Mora have taken the worst hit. These towns have suffered massive devastation, leaving practically everything destroyed.

The survivors are forced to take refuge in tents (one family per tent), or live in stadiums, parks and squares with the only possessions they have being those that they managed to grab while running from their houses to save their lives. They rely on humanitarian efforts for their daily meals.

These deplorable conditions have created a great fear in the population, and a collective despair as to what the future holds for them, due to the fact that the majority of the population is poor and doesn’t have the necessary resources to rebuild their homes. The loss of their belongings and even the death of loved ones is something that they deal with daily. Given this bleak picture, it is easy to understand the hopelessness that these people face and how difficult it is to have the optimism, courage, faith and willpower to start reconstructing their lives and homes.

As Christians we know that in these difficult moments it is essential to take hold of God, Who is able and willing to provide His balm of healing and comfort to those who need it most. We are doing all that’s in our power to bring support – mostly spiritual but also physical support – to these people whose lives have been turned upside-down. Thanks to the help of friends and sponsors, we were able to bring several tons of humanitarian aid consisting of clothing for the winter, food, cleaning articles, and basic necessities. We also brought thousands of magazines, posters, books and tracks full of Christian inspiration.

Through the sponsorship of Activated Ministries, we were able to distribute more than 5,000 copies of a special edition the Activated magazine called “Why Disasters?” The magazine contained words from Jesus to give these disaster victims the courage and strength needed to deal with their dire situations, articles on how to trust in God in the midst of so much disaster, answers to their questions, and the chance to receive Jesus’ comfort and salvation through asking Him into their hearts as their personal savior.

We split our volunteer group into teams of two or three and walked through the affected areas, giving the Activated magazines to everyone we met. We found people who couldn’t contain their tears when recalling the moments of pain they had suffered, but after they read parts of the magazine we could see them regaining their courage and the peace of mind that faith in God brings. There were others who organized small meetings with their neighbors to read the magazines together. Another friend of ours who is a teacher and also lives in one of the affected cities was very excited about the magazine and she is now using it at her motivational and psychological support program that she has been hosting for the victims of this disaster. There isn’t enough time or space to describe all the ways that these magazines are helping the people of Peru, and we know that none of it would have been possible without the support of Activated Ministries. Thank you so very much!