Response by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector to the Floods in Loreto, Peru 2012

Experiences and Lessons Learned for the Future

The heavy rains at the beginning of 2012 in Peru forced the Government to declare a state of National Emergency in 18 regions of the country. One of the most affected areas was the Loreto region, in the countryís northeast. According to SENAMHI (National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology of Peru), historical rainfall amounts were exceeded. The losses in agricultural production and in the private and public infrastructure were very high, but the institutional response initially deployed was not enough to meet the needs of the population.

The populationís vulnerability increased as a result of the collapse of the sanitation systems. In addition, the extending area of dispersion of pathogen agents increased the probability of transmission of diseases from river waters. For this reason it became imperative for the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to give an immediate response in order to control the associated risks and minimize the impact on the population.

This publication, produced by PAHO/WHO, describes the process of implementing the humanitarian response activities, as well as the actions that contributed to the strengthening of local, sectorial, and regional communities, with special emphasis on lessons learned. To that end, primary and secondary sources were analyzed, technical staff from participating agencies was interviewed, and those who benefitted from the interventions were surveyed on the results.

The document includes a brief description of the country, the context and the exceptional levels reached by the floods, the affected areas, the Plan of Action for the response and the development of the activities of this plan and response coordination strategies, good practices and lessons learned from interventions in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector.

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