A team composed of Peruvian health professionals that now practice in the United States, including nurses and social workers, are leaving Boston with the final destination of Peru. Their goal is to help the Andean populations of this South American country that have found themselves affected by the huaycos (meaning mudslide an Andean language known as Quechua) that have devastated areas in this mountainous region.
The team is travelling to Peru on Friday, August eighth. They will stay in the region for over a week. The Peruvian American Community (COPEA, Comunidad Peruano Americana) is an organization that bases itself in Boston with the mission to unite and promote intermutual endeavours between Peruvians, Americans and other Latin Americans. It is through COPEA’s coordinating efforts that this team has been able to make this trip a reality. The purpose of this journey is to bring medical assistance to the population of Yanahuanca in the province of Pasco, which is located in central Peru. This population needs not only basic health care services but gratuitous medicine.
COPEA has held various activities in recent weeks to fundraise use “those funds for the purchase of medicine and foods,” commented Olga Lattarulo, president of COPEA who will also be travelling with the medical team.
The health care team is made up of Peruvian doctors Lober Cervantes, Luz Cervantes, Gerald Yanayaco Benavides, specialist in public health, Nurse Martha Chea, social workers Lucila Leonal and Merlin Peña (who is of Salvadoran descent), medical assistent, Paul Scott (an American), students: Andrew Lattarulo, Carlos Apostle,and teacher Eugenia Colindres.
“As an organisation, we have draw up a plan to assist the majority of the population that has seen itself affected by this natural disaster. We have already coordinated all of our operations with the mayor of Yanahuanaca, who has graciously provided us with much support ” said Máximo Torres, vice-president of COPEA. He is in charge of the coordination of the trip and he is also joining the team in Peru.
Also joining the trip will be engineer Christian Cervantes, architectural student Guillermo Cervantes as well as Daniel Lattarulo. They will be sharing their knowledge in proper building infrastructure and helping rebuild the town school in Yanahuanca that was destroyed by the huayco.
When the last catastrophic earthquake struck the southern region of Peru in 2007, a team of health care professionals sent by COPEA. With the integral support and collaboration of Universidad San Juan de Bautista de Ica, the team was able to bring much needed medical relief to the affected towns of Santa Rosa and Los Molinos. “On that occasion, we did not only provide free clean up services, we also provided free medicine, food and clothes”, noted the director of COPEA.
Andrew Lattarulo who studies Political Sciences in University of Rhode Island and is the a ESL and computer of the COPEA Training Center with Carlos Apostle from Bard College and director of COPEA’s Recreational Program, has been a leades in fundraising. “They are a dynamic young men with a deep love for Peru”, says Torres.
Since the beginnings of the campaign for solidarity with Yanahuanca, Andrew Lattarulo has sought collaborations and even has even fundraised amongst his fellow students. “What I want to do is help Peruvians who are affected by this devastating events. Yanahuanca is living in an emergency situation and the town desperatley needs our help”, comments the student. Also Carlos Apostle has fundraised at his college to provide food and clothing to the victims.
Yanahuanca is an Andean town with a small population. It is located 3,200 meters above sea level. It continues to be devastated by natural disasters. Last April, a huayco buried the town school, a preschool and the medical station as well as causing severe damage to 200 homes. Authorities reported six deaths and more than 200 injured people.
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Solidarity with the victims of the earthquake in Peru
Event: Peruvian American Community, COPEA, distributed important aid to the community of Ica. The medical team, including doctors, nurses, and social assistants, carried out medical aid to hundreds of the earthquake victims in the remote areas of southern Peru which have not been reached.
Ica: The medical team of doctors, nurses, and social workers from diverse universities of Massachusetts arrived at Ica to aid the earthquake victims as organized by COPEA. The team gave aid to the community of San Jose de Los Molinos, and the town of Juarez in Ica.
The medical team was coordinated by the directors of COPEA, and members of the Asociación Universidad Privada San Juan Bautista of Lima and Father Ricardo Cruz Huamán, Director of Colegio San Vicente of Ica. The team distributed medical aid, clothes, and food to 1,000 people.
The medical team included Doctors Elizabeth Cuentas, Antonio Ognio, Robert Taylor, la Nurse Martha Chea, medical assistant Silvia Vizcarra, social workers Gloria Torres and Olga Lattarulo, and a group of nursing students from the Asociación Universidad Privada San Juan Bautista and the students Andrew Lattarulo y Carlos Apostle.
In Los Molinos, with a population of about 5,000 people, the COPEA medical team were the first to arrive to give medical aid. Those who needed aid greatly outnumbered the medical assistants.
“It was incredible what we saw. The need of help was enormous, many people did not receive any medical attention for many days after the earthquake. The dead bodies were visible on the streets, the cemetery was completely destroyed,” said Maximo Torres, Vice President of COPEA, and editor of the newspaper, El Mundo Boston, who traveled with the medical team.
The medical team under the direction of Olga Lattarulo, President of COPEA, and Dr. Antonio Ogni of the Asociación Universidad Privada of San Juan Bautista established the center of operations in San Jose de los Molinos, along with the support of its mayor Felix Escobar.
In Juarez, the medical aid was given in the Templo La Medalla Milagrosa with the assistance of Father Cruz Huaman.
The nurse Chea, students Andrew Lattarulo and Carlos Apostle offered classes on health prevention, and on domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction. Dr. Taylor gave classes on AIDS to a group of nursing students in the Universidad San Juan Bautista.
COPEA made this campaign possible with the support of many Peruvians, Latin-Americans, and the residents of Massachusetts by donating to the COPEA PERU EARTHQUAKE fund at East Boston Savings Bank.
The medical team arrived at Lima on September 13 for a reception at the Asociación Universidad Privada San Juan Bautista, and returned on September 14 to Boston, MA.