Peru // Flood Relief Initiative

Project Overview

An abnormal El Nino has caused sudden and abnormal warming of the waters off the coast of Peru, leading to 10 times more rain this season than last. From the capital, Lima, to the northern Peruvian regions, these devastating downpours have destroyed crops, leveled bridges, and washed out roads, killing 72 people and leaving over 70,000 people homeless. The vast majority of people affected are the poor, including many who live in makeshift homes on floodplains that had been dry for 20 years. The dramatic change in weather has severely damaged their infrastructure and has compromised what little resources they had. Now is the time to respond.

On behalf of us all here at Waves For Water, this disaster is heartbreaking. But because we are an organization founded on principles that put us at forefront of any disaster, we are eager to respond. We are officially announcing a comprehensive clean water disaster relief initiative. The massive and abnormal floods have crippled critical water and transportation infrastructure isolating thousands. Bottled water is already in short supply and those in cut off areas need portable and sustainable clean water solutions that do not require costly resupply or resources to function. Our Peru // Flood Relief Initiative will provide those solutions.

During a natural disaster, the first several days are crucial in preventing or limiting the spread of waterborne illnesses. We need to impact as many people as possible during this critical time. Working with a member of our Courier program and local partners we are in position to reach 2,100 people almost immediately, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Together, as a unified group, we will be striking the hardest hit areas to implement our portable water filtration systems. With a primary focus on impacting community centers and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps we will be able to reach highly concentrated populations and maximize our impact. We know this relief effort is not just a sprint and are prepared to go the distance, empowering our partners through this disaster and beyond.

Having just worked on a Clean Water Corps project in northern Peru we are no stranger to the challenges Peru presents. We are intimately aware that this disaster exasperated a preexisting situation in many of the affected areas. We will execute carefully and tactically to produce the highest impact and greatest benefit. Our goal is to build capacity within our local partners, enabling them to continue to have an impact, not only in Peru, but also the region. Our mission is not only to alleviate the suffering caused by this horrific event, but also to provide clean water access to everyone who needs it, one filter at a time.

Here is a link for our Peru Support Doc.

Apr 07 - 2017Field Update // Gabriel Villaran

For the past 12 years, I have worked in some of the most complex environments on the planet. From urban combat in Iraq and village stability operations in the mountains of Afghanistan to countering violent extremism and disaster response in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The linchpin to my successes in each of these environments is the selection of responsive, dedicated, and intelligent local partners. During the ongoing Waves For Water disaster response in Peru, Gabriel Villaran (@cholomode) has been paramount to the effective and timely implementation of clean water projects that are providing relief to communities affected by flooding and mudslides. In my 12 years of operating in complex environments, I am proud to say that Gabriel has been one of the most incredible local partners with whom I have had the honor to work.

From the onset of the floods in Peru, Gabriel reached out to Waves For Water to offer his assistance in the response. When I first spoke with Gabriel, I knew that he was going to be a tremendous help to the effort. Having never worked with our organization before, Gabriel proved to be a natural, providing essential information from the ground and, most importantly, understanding what needed to happen during this complex and horrific situation.

Before the Clean Water Corps response team had arrived in Peru, Gabriel had coordinated with a Toyota off-road driving club and one of our Courier program members, Roxanne Genier, to implement a 21-filter response (providing relief to an estimated 2,000 people) in two isolated areas in serious need. Through that implementation, he was able to connect with different Peruvian government ministries and line up support for a large-scale response. It was simply incredible, and it wasn’t until I had landed and met with Gabriel that I realized how incredible it truly was.

Gabriel Villaran is a professional big wave surfer. Just two months prior to our first meeting, while competing at Pipeline, Gabriel suffered a brutal compound fracture of his tibia. Not two months out of a surgery where doctors inserted a metal rod through the center of his bone, counter to his doctor’s orders, Gabriel was jumping in off-road vehicles and on military flights to reach ground zero of an ongoing natural disaster. Each day in which I worked with Gabriel, I witnessed him put his own recovery on hold and selflessly give everything he has to this response. He continues to step up in incredible ways to help his country and fellow Peruvians. He is a natural leader and an inspiration to us all. With Gabriel leading our local team, and much work to do still, I know that we will continue to reach the people who so desperately need clean water.


Mar 31 - 2017Field Update 1

This is different… There is usually a consistency about disasters, a pattern even. The event (fire, earthquake, flood, hurricane) occurs, infrastructure is destroyed, lives are ruined, and then it is over. Response and lifesaving efforts initiate, people band together, a common purpose emerges and there is hope found within the collective relief efforts. El Niño is throwing that cycle out the window. While most events hit like a hammer and fade away, El Niño has pounded Peru mercilessly and consistently, and with heavy rains and weather expected to continue until June, there is no relief in sight.

Everyone with whom we have come in contact has been extremely helpful in facilitating the coordination of filtration system distribution. We are working with the U.S. Embassy and several Peruvian ministries to make sure that all of our efforts a synced and that we make the largest impact possible. As of Tuesday, the CWC had developed a plan of attack and yesterday we began executing.

Foremost, the local network here has been absolutely incredible. Everyone has come together and is working tirelessly to reach some of the hardest hit areas. Yesterday, we traveled to a village called El Tigre, which is located an estimated 2.5 hours south of Lima. We brought together leaders from two schools, the local municipality, and an internally displaced persons’ camp that houses 15 families and provided them with 2 communal filtration systems and 4 faucet adaptors (5 filters total).

The second location was in a village called Roldan Bajo, which was a smaller community next to a dam that collapsed under the pressure of the overflowing river, causing flooding that destroyed their crops. When we arrived, a woman cried tears of relief. Sometimes it’s the little things that tell you how much these families are suffering. We trained 5 families and left 2 filtration systems.

Our last stop for the day was in Roldan proper, where we trained a community leader (local restaurant owner) on the filtration systems. There are an estimated 975 families in the area, but 27 of those families were badly impacted by flooding. Similar to Roldan Bajo, Roldan saw high amounts of crop damage.

The rains have increased the amount of sediment in the water, which is visible to the human eye. Most water is brown and cloudy. There are reports of increases in waterborne illnesses and an overall decrease in health.

On Friday, four of our team members will fly to Piura, one of the northernmost regions of Peru that is still underwater, to do a large distribution of filters. As we sit back and watch the footage of the disaster in Piura, our hearts are out to them. Friday cannot come soon enough, as we want to make sure Piurans receive relief as soon as possible.

We are extremely thankful for your continued support. Please share this link with all of your friends and family so we can continue to provide relief to the most in-need families in Peru. To those of you living in Peru, we are humbled by your willpower.


Esto es diferente… normalmente hay una consistencia en los desastres, incluso un mismo patrón. El evento (incendios, terremotos, inundaciones, huracanes) ocurre, la infraestructura se destruye, las vidas se arruinan, y luego todo se acaba.
Hay una respuesta y se inician todos los esfuerzos para salvar la vida de las personas, la gente se une, un propósito mutuo emerge y surgen esfuerzos de alivio colectivo con una gran esperanza. El Niño está rompiendo este patrón. Mientras que la mayoría de los eventos golpean como un martillo y se desvanecen, el Niño se ha clavado en el Perú sin piedad y sistemáticamente; además, sin alivio a la vista ya que se espera que el clima y las lluvias fuertes continúen hasta junio.

Todos con quienes nos hemos contactado nos han brindado gran apoyo para coordinar la distribución del sistema de filtración. Estamos trabajando con la Embajada de los EE.UU. y varios ministerios peruanos para asegurarnos de que todos nuestros esfuerzos estén sincronizados y que logremos el mayor impacto posible. Desde el martes, la CWC ha desarrollado un plan de ataque y ayer empezamos a ejecutarlo.

Ante todo, la red local aquí ha sido absolutamente increíble. Todo el mundo se ha reunido y está trabajando incansablemente para llegar a algunas de las zonas más castigadas. Ayer, viajamos a una aldea llamada El Tigre, que se encuentra alrededor de 2,5 horas al sur de Lima. Hemos reunido a líderes de dos escuelas, de la municipalidad local, y de un campamento de desplazados que alberga a 15 familias y a las cuales les hemos proporcionado 2 sistemas de filtración comunales y 4 adaptadores de grifo (5 filtros en total).

La segunda localidad fue un pueblo llamado Roldan Bajo, que era una pequeña comunidad junto a una represa que colapsó bajo la presión de los desbordamientos del río, causando inundaciones que destruyeron sus cultivos. Cuando llegamos, una mujer lloró lágrimas de alivio. A veces son las pequeñas cosas las que te dicen cuánto estas familias están sufriendo. Capacitamos a 5 familias y dejamos listos dos sistemas de filtración.

Nuestra última parada del día fue en el mismo Roldán, donde capacitamos a un líder de la comunidad (propietario de un restaurante local) en los sistemas de filtración. Se estima que hay 975 familias en la zona, pero 27 de esas familias fueron gravemente afectadas por las inundaciones. Al igual que en Roldún Bajo, en Roldán los cultivos se vieron altamente perjudicados.

Las lluvias han aumentado la cantidad de sedimento en el agua, lo cual es visible para el ojo humano. La mayor parte del agua está marrón y turbia. Hay informes de incrementos de enfermedades transmitidas por el agua y una degradación general de la salud humana.

El viernes, cuatro de los miembros de nuestro equipo volarán a Piura, una de las regiones más septentrionales del Perú que todavía está bajo el agua, para realizar una gran distribución de filtros. Al sentarnos y observar las imágenes de la catástrofe en Piura, nuestros corazones están con ellos. Esperamos con ansias que llegue este viernes, ya que queremos asegurarnos que los piuranos reciban alivio tan pronto como sea posible.

Estamos sumamente agradecidos por su apoyo constante. Por favor comparta este enlace (link) con todos tus familiares y amigos para que podamos seguir prestando socorro a las familias más necesitadas en el Perú. Para aquellos de ustedes que viven en el Perú, nos sentimos honrados por su fuerza de voluntad".

Statistics & Progress

Destination Peru

Funds Raised
$143,532 of $200,000

Impact 200,000+