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Peru: Lack of Reconstruction Two Years After Earthquake

August 15 marked two years since an earthquake struck Southern Peru, and primarily affected the areas of Ica, Pisco, and Nazca. Other mountainous areas such as Huancavelica were also affected. Now that 2 years have passed after the earthquake, the opinion of many is that there has been very little accomplished in regards to reconstruction of these areas, and much of the blame has been placed on the government. Nevertheless, official government figures show that almost 2 million soles have been spent [es] (approximately $680,000 USD), but those residents of the affected areas have been asking the president to clarify on what the money has been spent.

Meanwhile, the protests continue because the citizens are not content with the lack of action. The website Voces por la Reconstrucción [es] (Voices for Reconstruction) announces a regional strike for September 8 [es] and says, “The whereabouts of the numerous donations received by affected cities never arrived to their destination .. In light of this lack of information about the whereabouts of these funds … a commission has been formed to control the funds received by public and private entities in civil society. ” With all of this, a public hearing involving leaders and affected residents was called by the Reconstruction Collective. Another initiative is the Citizens Caravans, which is described by Enlace Nacional [es] in this video:

Bloggers are also distributing this information. The blog Cañete Hoy [es] writes that “the promises continue to arrive, but the reconstruction does not,” and that includes a video about this situation in the city of Cañete. More information can be found on the blog Colectivo de Periodistas de Ica [es] (Ica Journalist Collective). On the other hand, Chinganita Peru [es], Julián writes that slogans like “Trafa Perú” (Peru Deception) can be seen on walls throughout the capital city of Lima in regards to this slow reconstruction effort.

Luis Vigil of the blog Mejor Hablar de Ciertas Cosas [es] blames the government because the cities have yet to be rebuilt:

La pregunta es, ¿por qué no renacen las ciudades afectadas? ¿Qué tanto se demoran? No me explico, es más; la ayuda internacional llegó de inmediato. ¿Se repartió bien? ¿Acaso no enviaron millones de dólares para la reconstrucción de las zonas afectadas? ¿Dónde está?

The question is, why aren't the affected cities being rebuilt? Why is it taking so long? I don't understand, even more; the international aid arrived immediately. Was it distributed well? Didn't they send millions of dollars for the reconstruction of the affected areas? Where is it?

Meanwhile the blog Otras Tardes [es] publishes accounts of those who experienced the earthquake. The blog WEBM [es] writes that the suffering continues in Pisco two years later:

Es increible que a dos años del terremoto muchos politicos esten contentos al decir que se han reconstruido 198 casas. Si h***** pero se cayeron cerca de 2,000! Tambien las donaciones dadas a los afectados para que puedan reconstruir sus casas fueron dadas en cheques sin fondo! Osea, encima de que no los ayudan los engañan!

It is incredible that two years after the earthquake that many politicians are content to say that 198 house have been built. But close to 2000 were destroyed! The donations were given to those affected so that they can rebuild their houses, but the checks were provided without funds! In other words, on top of not helping them, they deceive them!

However, not all bloggers are writing about complaints. Jaime Espejo Arce of Fiscalización Ciudadana [es] (Citizen Control) in addition to providing his thoughts on the attempted reconstruction, highlights some efforts to restore the Señor de Luren Church in Ica:

La entrada al Templo permanece como si el terremoto hubiera sido ayer. Algunos restos de la infraestructura amenazan con seguir desprendiéndose. … El millón de euros destinado por el Vaticano inicialmente para el Templo de Luren tuvo otro destino. Según el sacerdote Edmundo Aparcana, vocero de la Diócesis de Ica, “el millón de euros se distribuyó en tres partes: una parte fue a Ica, la otra para Cañete y Yauyos y la parte final para Huancavelica. … Por tanto, a fin de reconstruir el Santuario de Luren se llevará a cabo una Teletón este sábado 15 de agosto; mientras que la colecta nacional – a través de la campaña Compartir- se desarrollará el 21 de agosto.

The Church's entrance remains as if the earthquake was yesterday. Some of the remaining infrastructure continue to deteriorate … The million of Euros that were initially given by the Vatican for the Luren Church had another destination. According to Father Edmundo Aparcana, spokesperson for the Ica Diocese said, “the million Euros were distributed in three parts: one part went to the city of Ica, the second part for Cañete and Yauyos, and the final part went to the city of Huancavelica … In addition, in order to complete the reconstruction of the Luren Church, a Telethon [es] will be held on Saturday, August 15; meanwhile the national collection – through the campaign Share – will launch August 21.

It appears that the actions of the state are held up by bureaucracy, and a story in the El Comercio newspaper states [es] that the just the paperwork for some technical evaluations for some works can take as long as 6 months. As the blog Café Taipá [es] writes, “Two years after the earthquake, the government announces its achievements, but reconstruction is not part of them.”

Video subtitled in english by Marisol Salazar.

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