Iquitos: Yahua native community and school brigades prepare to respond to potential emergencies
- Families located in areas close to rivers are highly vulnerable to flooding and overflow in a context of climate change, as alerted by Save the Children.
- As part of the “My Prepared Community, My Pride” campaign, efforts are being made to protect children in high-risk areas.
The native communities in Iquitos, some of them situated in close proximity to rivers, are highly vulnerable to emergencies such as floods and overflows, phenomena that can be exacerbated by the conditions caused by climate change. In this context, Save the Children, in coordination with the National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI), carried out various activities to better prepare families in the Yahua native community for potential disasters.
In the case of heavy rains, these communities experience disruptions in their river transportation, jeopardizing their access to shelter, food, and timely medical attention. Additionally, Iquitos is vulnerable to earthquakes, such as the magnitude 8 quake that occurred on May 29, 2019, leaving 205 families displaced. This earthquake also caused flooding in the districts of Iquitos, Belén, Punchana, and San Juan, areas that have endured up to 10 continuous hours of rain in April 2022 and March 2023.
Save the Children‘s intervention aims to strengthen the capacities and knowledge of communities so that children, adolescents, and their families receive relevant information tailored to their context. An example of this is the “My Prepared Community, My Pride” campaign, developed in the Yahua native community of Río Momón.
“My children have learned how to prevent considering the climate change we have in our Loreto region. They have learned to preserve essential products, such as forming an emergency pantry where we will store salted fish, cassava flour, and bananas to have food during the rains, asaranomara (thank you),” said Romina Chota Cahuachi, a teacher at Nueva Vida School.
As part of this initiative, multiple visits were made to the community to ensure that the information provided was relevant and contextualized. This was made possible through coordination with the Decentralized Directorate of INDECI Loreto and the Disaster Risk Management Unit of Punchana District Municipality. Additionally, learning sessions were held at MORB School in Iquitos, involving Civil Defense brigades from secondary level.
“Our interventions directly involve children and adolescents, as well as the educational community, because by strengthening their capacities, we encourage families to reflect on their environment, identify specific risks, and then get involved in finding solutions,” explained Marcela Castillo, coordinator of the project “Strengthening Disaster Risk Management in the Northeast Macro-Region,” implemented by Save the Children with funding from BHA/USAID.
In this public campaign, parents, guardians, and representatives from the educational community also participated, contributing to building a generation of citizens who are more aware of the various risks faced by their communities.
“If we prepare now, we can better face the situations caused by disasters, with calmness, responsibility, and fewer affected people. Each one of us can be an example for the community,” explained Juan, a student brigadier at MORB School.