Monday, February 12, 2018

These children suffered for months after extreme weather wrecked their town in Peru

[PRI] Flor Bautista and her 3-year-old daughter, Camila, share a sad and vacant stare as they emerge from their taut white tent early in the morning. Camila cried much of the night, neither slept well. Bautista said her youngest child has been sick ever since their northern Peruvian town of Piura flooded in March of 2017.
“When the water came we were here in our little huts,” Bautista said. “The water came quickly and flooded everything.”
The rising waters took everyone in her town by surprise that early March morning. They’d been suffering through a long drought in Piura. Then suddenly came torrential downpours, which led to the river breaching and a massive flood. It was a weather swing like no one there had ever experienced before.
“We had to escape to the mountains and it was there the children got sick,” Bautista said. “They lost weight and became malnourished because they weren’t eating like they should be.” There was no fresh produce for months, and Bautista said all she could give her children was what was handed out by charities and the local government — rice, pasta and canned tuna. Bautista said this limited diet really impacted her younger children’s health.
There were also problems with access to clean water. Three-year-old Camila got diarrhea that never let up, but there were no doctors to see. And when she was finally able to take Camilla to a medical clinic, there was no medicine.
Kids are often hardest hit by extreme weather events, and climate change is contributing to an increase in some kinds of extreme weather around the world. As the weather changes, and in some cases becomes more extreme, different communities of people are feeling the impact. Here in this tiny coastal Peruvian village — which looks like a refugee camp — babies and toddlers have been hit hard. Read More