The tiny Anglican Diocese of Peru has been feeding up to 6,000 people a day since a massive earthquake hit the region last week, claiming more than 500 lives.
Working alongside government and aid agencies, the diocese has set up soup kitchens and community help centres, as well as distributing vital supplies, such as medicine and blankets.
The earthquake, measuring 7.9, struck on Wednesday 15 August, just off the coast of Peru. The province of Ica was the most damaged. In the town of Pisco, 127 people died when a church collapsed. Many more were killed or injured as roads and buildings collapsed. Thousands were left exposed to the cold without food, water or electricity.
Bishop of Peru, the Rt Revd Bill Godfrey - who is supported by USPG: Anglicans in World Mission - described how the diocese was spearheading relief efforts:
He said: ‘The diocese is deeply involved in earthquake relief and rescue work. At present we have a small team in the area of the epicentre. They are primarily involved in feeding people and providing water and medicine. On Saturday 18 August they fed over 6,000 people in an area just outside Pisco. They were the first help to arrive.
‘It has been very difficult to get to the area because of poor roads and civil disorder, but so far they have had the help of army convoys to reach the stricken areas.
‘We have volunteers working in the hospitals, visiting and caring for those who have been injured. We are caring for their families too with food, clothing, medicines, friendship and lodging.
‘We are working in conjunction with other churches and aid agencies, adding whatever we can to what God gives us.’
USPG sent emergency funding to support the Diocese of Peru’s relief efforts, and is appealing for more funds to help support relief work. To make a donation, visit www.uspg.org.uk/projects/rapid.php