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Help and Hope in the Flames

Field Report by Dina Sleiman

PERU – Imagine waking to discover your small home and those of all your neighbors going up in flames. This was the nightmare that met single mother of three, Berzabeth, along with many community members in the settlement of Luis Guillermo García Ruiz in Peru.

At 4:00 a.m. one of her neighbors began to cry out desperately to warn the others and rally anyone who could hear to help put out the flames. But since the homes were made of wood, the fire quickly spread.

Devastation and destruction after flames took a row of homes.

Berzabeth said, “Suddenly I heard them shouting, ‘Fire, fire!’ I woke up my children, and they left the house nervously running. I tried to gather some clothes, take out my refrigerator that I used in my business, but I couldn’t do anything. The fire was already approaching my room, so I had to go out through the window. And I jumped from a height of 4 meters, causing a cut in my hand. I was able to save my life, but not my house.

Not only had she lost her home, she lost her small business as well.

Peruvian Community Gets Help After Fire

Nearly every family told a similar terrifying story. By the time the local firefighters got the blaze under control, 10 houses had burned to the ground. They left 60 individuals, from babies through the elderly, homeless. The local authorities stepped in to feed the families for a week and to rebuild the lost homes. But the victims still needed so much more help.

Operation Blessing delivers disaster relief supplies thanks to support from friends like you.

Thanks to you, Operation Blessing quickly arrived on the scene with disaster relief supplies. As they reached out to the victims, they realized that the displaced residents would need a long-term solution for feeding their families. And so you provided an industrial kitchen for the residents to prepare meals while displaced from their homes.

OB teams also provided ongoing moral and psychological support to the fire victims. Berzabeth and her children have been staying with relatives nearby. But she and three other mothers run the kitchen for the community. She said, “I am very grateful for all the support you are giving my neighbors and my family. Thanks to this help, we can eat.”

Berzabeth preparing meals in the kitchen provided by OB donors.

While this community still has a lot of rebuilding in their future, you’ve given them help and hope to get through this fiery trial.

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