“Earthquake Response Continues as Members Rebuild Homes in Peru,” Ensign, Apr. 2008, 78
Hope spreads quickly as members join together in building homes and reestablishing livelihoods after the magnitude-8 earthquake that devastated southern Peru on August 15, 2007.
Shortly after the quake, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Peru and said long-term aid would continue even after immediate needs were met. “We will be there,” he said. “The members want to help.”
The transition to long-term aid includes plans to rebuild approximately 400 homes. The homeowners will provide much of the labor by clearing debris from their land and working on their own homes while offering service on others’ homes as well. The Church will provide the construction materials and offer building expertise.
The earthquake left entire communities in southwest Peru, including Pisco, Ica, and Chincha, in ruins. The Church’s immediate response provided 10,000 blankets and other emergency supplies. Continued efforts offered more than 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg) of supplies, surgical instruments, food, and hygiene kits. Additionally, four Church meetinghouses in Pisco were opened as shelters for displaced people.
While the Church’s quick response to provide for immediate needs relieved suffering, the members’ efforts to join together to rebuild homes now reflect an application of welfare principles.
“Under the direction of the Area Presidency, the people are organizing themselves, working together, and making use of available resources,” said Brett Bass, project manager of Church Humanitarian Services. “They are truly helping themselves and offering a great example of what the welfare program can be.”
Reconstructing homes is the first of the long-term plans that have been developed to help quake victims. Others include instituting health education and providing employment assistance to those who have lost jobs.