Peru at a glance
Earthquake: Realities and Myth
The earthquake which hit the Ica region of Peru in August 2007 and affected over 131,000 families and killed 519 people was nevertheless relatively minor compared to other disasters. However, it received considerable media attention because of the absence of other disasters and donors were quick to respond.
Despite Peru’s history of natural disasters there was a lack of disaster preparedness measures at all levels. There were also shortcomings in the response by national bodies, with recriminations between competing political parties and accusations of corruption.
In fact, the national disaster response capacity was quickly overwhelmed, partly because of the absence of a clear coordination mechanism and effective contingency planning.The UN Flash Appeal received only 50 percent of the funds requested as many donors used other established funding channels. Whilst ECHO, the largest donor, was praised for promoting disaster preparedness, other donors were criticized for providing inflexible in-kind assistance. Coordination between international and local actors improved over time, although the cluster approach was not introduced due to the limited capacity of the government. However, improved coordination failed to address the major shortcomings of the response: the transition from relief to long-term recovery and strengthening of local disaster preparedness capacity, with few donors providing funds for these.