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Cablegate: Peru - Earthquake: Situation Report #1

VZCZCXRO4966
PP RUEHRN
DE RUEHPE #2850/01 2322148
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 202148Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6581
INFO RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 1942
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4983
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7533
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 3057
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 4459
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1399
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1436
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0693
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 1763
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 9268
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0513
RUEHRN/US MISSION UN ROME
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0145
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 LIMA 002850

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE/WHA FOR WHA/AND, BTHOMAS
STATE ALSO PASS TO USAID
USAID/W FOR A/AID HFORE
USAID/DCHA FOR MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
AID/W for DCHA/OFDA
DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, AFERRARA, ACONVERY, RTHAYER, SBISWAS
DCHA/FFP WHAMMINK
USAID/LAC FOR AA/LAC, LAC/SA, MKARBELING
SAN JOSE FOR TCALLAGHAN
NSC for TSHORTLEY, PMARCHAM
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PLERNER
GENEVA FOR NYKYLOH
NEW YORK FOR TMALY
USMISSION UN ROME FOR RNEWBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON ETRD SENV ENRG USTR PE XM XR

SUBJECT: PERU - EARTHQUAKE: SITUATION REPORT #1

REF: LIMA 2806

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (U) Summary. As of August 19, the death toll in Peru from the
August 15 earthquake, which occurred at 1840 hours local time, is
521 people. Following the August 16 U.S. Ambassador's disaster
declaration for the earthquake in Peru and within 16 hours of the
earthquake, the U.S. Embassy in Lima deployed a team that included
representatives from the Department of State, USAID/Peru, USAID's
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), and the
Department of Defense (DOD)'s Military Assistance Advisory Group
(MAAG). In total, more than 50 USG personnel have been in the
affected areas, conducting assessments, coordinating with the
Government of Peru (GOP), providing emergency medical treatment and
relief supplies, and assisting American citizens. USAID/OFDA has
provided USD 300,000 through USAID/Peru for emergency relief
supplies and has airlifted other relief commodities. To assist
USAID/Peru in responding to the crisis, USAID/OFDA has deployed a
six-person team to assess impact, identify needs, and deliver
emergency assistance. DOD, through U.S. Southern Command
(SOUTHCOM), is providing technical and financial assistance,
particularly in the health sector. To date, total USG assistance
from USAID and DOD is more than USD 1 million.

2. (SBU) The main challenges to the current humanitarian response
is the GOP's National Civil Defense Institute's (INDECI) weak
information management and coordination in the receipt and delivery
of relief supplies. In addition, limited information on numbers of
affected persons, needs, and houses destroyed has led to a possible
overestimation of damage and displacement. According to the USAID
team, ongoing assessments will help refine these numbers. Despite
these challenges, humanitarian assistance is reaching affected
populations. Senior GOP officials, and in particular President Alan
Garcia and his Ministers who are working round-the-clock in the
affected region with municipal mayors and regional presidents, are
seeking to address problems and working somewhat more efficiently
with international donors, civil society groups, and the private
sector. End summary.

-----------------------------------
Current Situation in Affected Areas
-----------------------------------

3. (U) INDECI reports that as of August 19, the earthquake killed
521 in the districts of Pisco, Ica, Chincha, Canete and surrounding
rural areas. The number of affected people remains unclear, with
estimates still ranging between 100,000 to 200,000, which would
include families who may not have lost their houses but will require
food and water assistance. (Note: USAID's ongoing assessment of
Pisco, Ica, Chincha, and Canete will provide more precise estimates
of impact and affected population. End note.)

4. (U) The port city of Pisco is the most affected, with an
estimated 85 percent of housing structures and buildings in the
downtown area destroyed, according to INDECI. Most of the destroyed
houses were made of adobe bricks, a common building material for
that area particularly for older houses. The earthquake also

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damaged the water, sewer, electricity, and garbage collection
systems. Pisco does not have electricity, water, and communications
services, although the downtown plaza, which is the hub of relief
operations, now has electricity. Transportation within the city has
been cut off to remove debris, rubble, and hanging wires.

5. (U) The USAID assessment team reported that an estimated 40
percent of Ica's downtown area was damaged or destroyed,
particularly affecting poor neighborhoods and adobe houses. Ica now
has water and electricity services; however, communications are
down. According to the USAID team, Chincha and Canete are not
receiving relief supplies to the same level as Ica and Pisco, which
were more severely damaged. (Note: The USAID assessment team will
visit Chincha and Canete on August 20. End note.) The earthquake
also affected provinces in Huancavelica, Ayacucho, and Junin
regions.

---------------------------------------
Challenges to the Humanitarian Response
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The main challenge to the current humanitarian response is
INDECI's weak information management and coordination of the receipt
and delivery of relief supplies. This situation is affecting the
distribution of relief items that is coordinated with regional and
municipal governments. At an August 18 coordination meeting with
the humanitarian community, the GOP recognized that while relief
supplies are available, the distribution system is slower than
needed. The GOP requested assistance from the humanitarian
community in the logistics, information management, and coordination
sectors. INDECI had been collecting relief supplies in warehouses
at the Peruvian Air Force base in Pisco and asking municipal and
village mayors to ensure distribution to their populations. A
main challenge has been that mayors did not have sufficient
transportation resources or capacity to deliver goods efficiently in
the initial hours and days. On August 18, the GOP established 13
distribution centers, or "albergues", in the affected districts open
to the public. Affected residents will be able to receive relief
items, including water, food, medicines, and shelter supplies,
directly from these centers. Mayors are requesting that residents
register in order to receive needed supplies. The U.N. has deployed
a U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to provide
communication, information management, and logistics support to
INDECI. In addition, Peruvian companies, including Microsoft Peru,
are donating logistical technical assistance and resources to the
GOP, according to local media reports.

7. (SBU) Limited information on exact numbers of affected persons,
needs, and assistance distributed to date is also complicating the
ongoing response. As a result, identifying unmet needs and gaps has
proven to be challenging. (Note: The USAID assessment team is
working in coordination with INDECI and different ministries to
identify gaps and medium-term needs. End note.) The U.N. is
working with the GOP and INDECI to establish an emergency operations
center in Lima and in the field to serve as the coordination hub for
information and logistics. (Note: USAID/OFDA has supported this
effort by airlifting from Miami, Florida, an office support module
for the UNDAC team, which includes all the necessary equipment to

LIMA 00002850 003 OF 005


set up an office in the field, such as workstations, generators,
tents, and office supplies. End note.) The goal is for the center
to begin organizing humanitarian assistance by sector, e.g. health,
shelter, water and sanitation, infrastructure, etc.

---------------
Road Conditions
---------------

8. (U) While damage to main highways and debris on roads continues
to delay transportation of relief items and access to affected
areas, the Ministry of Transport, with collaboration from the
Peruvian military and private Peruvian companies, is clearing the
two main highways linking Lima and the affected cities. Transit
time from Lima to Pisco has been cut from eight hours to
approximately five hours, according to U.S. Embassy assessment
teams. Chincha is now accessible from Lima in less than three
hours. More importantly, roads within Ica Region are also being
cleared, in particular the Ica-Pisco-Chincha road. Bottlenecks on
the main highways remain due to the heavy traffic of relief supplies
into the region and the outflow of residents leaving the area to
stay with relatives in Lima and elsewhere. Given current road
conditions, relief items are flown to the Peruvian Air Force base in
Pisco. Planes carrying relief supplies are arriving from Lima and
other donor countries, including Colombia and Venezuela. USG relief
assistance to Pisco and Ica will continue to be airlifted depending
on road conditions, while relief items to Chincha and Canete will
most likely take place by road from Lima.

--------
Security
--------

9. (U) Reports of assaults on vehicles transporting relief supplies
along the main highways and looting in some of the affected cities,
particularly on August 17, raised concerns about the potential
impact to relief operations. In response, the GOP has augmented
police presence at critical locations on highways, especially at
night. In addition, on August 18, the GOP's Ministry of Defense
deployed 1,000 troops to affected cities to guarantee peace and
security, according to local media reports. The USAID/OFDA
assessment team reports that insecurity has not disrupted relief
efforts to date and has begun to subside.

------------
GOP Response
------------

10. (U) The GOP has converted the Peruvian Air Force base in Pisco
into the operations center for coordination of the relief efforts,
including receipt and delivery of relief items. President Garcia and
GOP ministers have been using the base as an office since August 16.
From INDECI's operations center in this base, municipal mayors and
regional presidents hold daily meetings with the President and GOP
ministers. During these meetings, the GOP discusses needs,
distribution process, and medium-term requirements. Peruvian
National Police and Military units also report on the situation to
the President on this site.

LIMA 00002850 004 OF 005

11. (U) The USAID team confirms that the GOP priority requests are
water, shelter, blankets, and food, as well as heavy lifting
equipment debris removal. Looking ahead, the GOP has already
started a cash-for-work program through which residents are paid 14
soles per day (the equivalent of USD 4.50) for debris removal.

12. (U) INDECI and Peruvian firefighters have expressed great
appreciation for USAID/OFDA and MAAG preparedness and
capacity-building programs over the past few years. A Peruvian
firefighter told the USAID team on the ground: "Somos hijos de OFDA
y MAAG." (We are the children of OFDA and MAAG.) INDECI and Urban
Search and Rescue (USAR) teams also expressed similar feelings to
the team.

13. (U) The response from Peruvian citizens and the private sector
has been overwhelming. To date, Peruvian companies, municipalities,
and private citizens have made significant monetary and goods
donations for relief efforts. Peruvian private sector companies,
including banks, mines, oil and gas, and exporting associations,
have sent relief items and provided heavy machinery to lift and
remove debris.

--------------------------------
Ongoing USG Actions and Response
--------------------------------

14. (U) To coordinate the USG response to the disaster, a regional
advisor from the USAID/OFDA Regional Office for Latin America and
the Caribbean (LAC) in San Jose, Costa Rica, deployed to Peru on
August 16 to augment the ongoing risk and disaster mitigation
efforts of three USAID/OFDA/LAC consultants already in-country. As
of August 18, a six-person USAID/OFDA team, comprising the regional
advisor, four LAC consultants, and an information officer, is in
Peru. In collaboration with USAID/Peru, the U.S. embassy, and MAAG,
the team is assessing damages, identifying needs, delivering
emergency assistance, and coordinating with the GOP.

15. (U) On August 16, U.S. Ambassador McKinley declared a disaster
due to the earthquake in Peru. In response, USAID/OFDA provided USD
100,000 through USAID/Peru for the Peruvian Red Cross to purchase
relief commodities, including 1,000 blankets, 2,000 jerry cans, 450
tents, and plastic sheeting. To date, the Peruvian Red Cross has
distributed 525 blankets and 180 jerrycans in Paracas, 450 blankets
and 75 tents in San Andres, and 500 blankets and 50 tents in Los
Molinos, Pisco District. In addition, 3,000 blankets, 500
jerrycans, and 60 tents were distributed in Los Molinos, Ica
District.

16. (U) Based on other identified needs, USAID/OFDA is providing an
additional USD 200,000 through USAID/Peru for humanitarian
activities. On August 19, USAID/OFDA airlifted relief commodities
from the USAID/OFDA warehouse in Miami, Florida, including four
10,000-liter water bladders; 7,800 10-liter water containers; and
500 body bags. This airlift also includes an office support module
for UNDAC team, which includes all the necessary equipment to set up
an office in the field, such as workstations, generators, tents, and
office supplies. The total value of all the commodities including

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transport is more than USD 290,000.

17. (U) To date, the Department of Defense (DOD) has provided
approximately USD 410,000 in technical and financial assistance.
DOD plans to allocate USD 1 million to cover the costs of military
assistance to the overall USG response. Technical and financial
assistance to date includes:

A) A U.S. medical team of 8 doctors and 10 medical students from the
Naval Medical Research Center Detachment (NMRCD), which was already
on the ground on a training mission and was immediately mobilized to
the affected areas, conducted assessments in conjunction with
USAID/Peru staff. NMRCD has established a portable laboratory for
two weeks at the hospital in Pisco to monitor infections.

B) A 27-member Field Surgical Team (FST), including a general
surgeon, anesthesiologist, general practitioners, nurses, and
medical technicians, arrived in Peru on August 17 and 18 from the
Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras. The FST treated 250 patients
and conducted 3 surgeries in Pisco on August 18, its first day of
operations.

C) A 13-person Medical Readiness Exercise Team (MEDRETE) from U.S.
Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is traveling to Ica on August 19 to
provide general medical services, in coordination with the Ministry
of Health. The MEDRETE team is bringing medical supplies valued at
USD 65,000.

D) Two C-130 DOD planes airlifted a surgical operating room package
and medical supplies valued at more than USD 28,000 on August 18.
Transportation for these airlifts cost USD 240,000. Beginning
August 19, one C-130 plane will remain in Peru to transport relief
supplies in-country, at a cost of USD 25,000 per day. In addition,
the C-130 has transported residents wanting to leave the affected
area.

E) DOD has contributed USD 50,000 through NMRCD for the local
procurement of medical and other relief supplies.

18. (U) The Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) has provided 3,000
tents and food to the Peruvian Military and the Police during their
deployment to the affected areas.
MCKINLEY

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