Cuban Doctors Provide Aid to 1000s in Flood-Stricken Peru

(Telesur) – “Little by little we are winning the fight against disease. We continue in combat, with maximum morale,” said one of the doctors.

Following the devastating floods in Peru, a team of Cuban doctors has provided nearly 3,600 medical consultations since arriving in Peru in early April.

According to the Cuban News Agency, the majority of those receiving consultations are women and children who are suffering from respiratory and gastrointestinal infections due to the heavy flooding in the region. The epidemiologists are treating stagnant waters and shelters to eliminate chances of mosquito infestations.

A member of the Cuban brigade, Dr. Emanuel Vigil, said, “Little by little we are winning the fight against disease. We continue in combat, with maximum morale.”

The catastrophic floods that hit northern Peru have left 98 dead, 20 disappeared and nearly 120,890 affected. It also swept away a total of 1,631 miles of roads and 242 bridges. The ravaging floods have affected the poor in the Andean country the most, destroying nearly 200,000 homes, many built on the cheap land alongside the Huaycoloro River in Carapongo.

Cities in the top ten populated regions in the country are now submerged underwater along Peru’s coastal northern plain, including Trujillo, Chiclayo and Piura.

The doctors, who are part of Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors specializing in Disasters and Serious Epidemics, are treating the affected in five shelters, where they were evacuated following the flooding. The camps are spread across the affected region and are housing several thousand people.

According to the National Convention of Peruvian Agriculture, floods have caused severe losses in the agriculture and livestock sectors amounting to over US $500 million and as part of the relief efforts, the Peruvian government has approved a multi-million dollar emergency aid package to the affected growers, including an immediate allocation of US$29 million to help repair the infrastructure such as canals and reservoirs.

The Cuban medical brigade was founded by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. According to Granma, since its founding, 7,254 Cuban heath providers have offered services in 19 nations worldwide.

Earlier this year, the brigade received a public health award from the WHO recognizing its international solidarity and relief efforts in helping other countries cope with deadly disasters.