At a glance: Peru

Peru earthquake survivors learn about hygiene through creative presentations

UNICEF Image: Peru, earthquake, water
© UNICEF video
Children at the Virgen del Carmen camp for earthquake survivors are staying healthy by learning proper hygiene practices.

By Elsa Urusula

PISCO, Peru, 3 January 2008 – Survivors of the earthquake that devastated Peru in August of last year are still desperately in need of help. There are roughly 24,000 people still living in approximately 100 camps, waiting to return to their homes.

“I’m living here at the camp with my three daughters,” said Maria Pacha Chavez. “We are 40 affected families amounting to 162 people between children, the elderly, men and women.” 

In response to recurring health problems in shelters, a UNICEF-supported initiative is educating children about hygiene and sanitation in order to prevent disease. A group of actors known as The Kallpa Group visits the camps to perform entertaining presentations involving characters such as Mrs. Latrine and Mr. Cleanliness.

These lively plays have been effective ways to encourage children to use clean water and maintain hygienic conditions in the recently installed latrines. 

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
The Kallpa Group performs entertaining presentations about water and sanitation to earthquake survivors in Peru.

Carlita Magallanes, 3, lives in the Virgen del Carmen camp with her family, including five brothers and sisters. She is now applying what she has learned from watching presentations by the Kallpa Group. Carlita says that in the morning, before leaving for her pre-school classes, she and her family make sure to wash their hands with soap and water, and brush their teeth.

Working together to prevent disease

While the children learn from these creative presentations, training is also provided for shelter coordinators and leaders so they can help prevent recurrent diseases such as diarrhoea in their own camps. UNICEF has delivered brooms buckets and other cleaning supplies to help adults work to prevent diseases.

Now, camp residents fill containers with water and use UNICEF-provided chlorine tablets to make it safe. They are able to sweep the streets and place trash bags into more sanitary receptacles.

With the help of UNICEF and the Kallpa Group, better living conditions can be maintained for earthquake-affected families until they are able to rebuild their homes and return to their normal lives.


 

 

Video

December 2007: UNICEF correspondent Amy Bennett reports on an initative to bring the message of hygiene to children in camps near Pisco, Peru.
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