August 16, 2007–New York–In the wake of a magnitude-8.0 earthquake that struck Peru at 6:40 pm local time yesterday, MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, today put out a call for emergency aid for the victims. Among the towns nearest the epicenter are Chincha Alta and Canete, where MADRE's partner organization LUNDU works with Afro-Peruvian youth, women and families who were struggling to meet their basic needs even before the earthquake.
MADRE emphasized that these already-marginalized communities are now homeless, hungry and without protection from the weather. In some areas, 80 percent of all housing has been destroyed. People are sleeping on the streets, wounded are lying on hospital floors, power is out in most of the area and highways are cracked and blocked. At least 400 are dead and more than 1, 300 wounded, and these figures are projected to rise.
Vivian Stromberg, MADRE's Executive Director, said today, "This morning, we spoke with Monica Carrillo, Director of LUNDU, and she asked for immediate help. She told us of families suffering the horrors of watching everything crumble around them. Imagine a family's experience of opening the door to rescue their children, only to find the walls and ceiling collapsing around them. This emergency requires an immediate response."
Schools, churches, and other places that would normally function as emergency centers have been severely damaged and people are waiting to be transported to safety. Chincha Alta and surrounding communities are experiencing aftershocks, which are expected to continue.
MADRE has called on its supporters to provide emergency funds to allow LUNDU to purchase necessities such as clothing, blankets, food, clean water, medicines and more. More information about these efforts can be found here.
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Vivian Stromberg is MADRE's Executive Director, and her areas of expertise include women's economic development, US foreign policy, health care, popular education, sexual violence, human rights, and child development. With an emphasis on gender in all areas of work, she speaks on a broad range of subjects, both in the United States and internationally, as a keynote speaker at conferences, seminars and symposia.
M�nica Carrillo is a feminist, scholar, poet, and the director of LUNDU, the Center for Afro-Peruvian Studies and Advancement in Lima, Peru. LUNDU is an organization of Afro-Peruvian youth who work to promote recognition and respect for Peru's African-descendant population and to combat racism and sexism in Peruvian society. Ms. Carrillo is also a journalist with expertise in International Human Rights Law and African and Minority Rights. In her tireless work for social justice, she helps people understand the importance of human rights–including sexual and reproductive rights–as she works in her community and internationally to defend the rights Afro-Peruvians, women, and youth. Please note that Ms. Carrillo's preferred language is Spanish.