At a glance: Peru

Playrooms for young population affected by Peru quake serve many roles

© UNICEF video
Daniel Diaz and his mother enjoy healthy food and warm company at the Los Angelitos centre in Chincha, Peru, where papilla helps to combat the area’s chronic malnutrition rate.

By Elsa Ursula

CHINCHA, Peru, 7 April 2008 – Every day, Rosa Linda Díaz and her son Daniel have lunch at the Los Angelitos centre in Pueblo Nuevo, Chincha Province.

Here, Rosa can obtain and prepare a nutritional food complement call ‘papilla’, specially designed to get children under five the daily protein, iron and vitamins they need. Rosa appreciates the nutritional value and easy preparation of papilla; Daniel loves how it tastes.

Still recovering from a devastating earthquake last summer, the children and parents of Chincha do not take nutrition for granted. In this region, chronic malnutrition affects up to 12 per cent of the population between the ages of six and nine. A recent study found that nearly half of the children of Chincha suffer from anaemia.

UNICEF has established 135 nutrition centres, known as Integral Protection Modules, in Ica, Pisco and Chincha – three of the most quake-affected provinces. The mothers who use them have been trained to prepare the papilla, and many of them also take advantage of counselling services at the centre.

© UNICEF video
Close to 100,000 children lost their homes in coastal Peru during the earthquake of August 2007. Most displaced families rely on UNICEF-supported centres for nutrition and social programmes.

A new world – for play

Meanwhile, at the region’s 35 UNICEF ‘ludotecas’, or playrooms, children find an outlet to release their energies and dispel their lasting fears. As many as 97,000 children lost their homes in the earthquake. There are only a few camps for the displaced remaining in Chincha; most families have returned to shantytowns outside of their former villages.

“Following the earthquake, the children were frustrated, and this play space has been very important, since the children express their fears through play,” says Nancy Guzmán de Rivera, the monitor in charge of the ‘World of Games’ playroom installed by UNICEF at the San Agustín settlement in Chincha Alta district.

“It’s so good to see how parents and even grandparents come with their children, play with them and take part in everything,” says Ms. Guzmán. “It’s all very rewarding.”




March 2008:
UNICEF correspondent Elizabeth Kiem reports on the progress made in Chincha, Peru, after its devastating earthquake seven months ago.
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