Many survivors of Peru’s devastating earthquake have had enough and are packing up and moving out, tired of waiting for aid that never comes, or terrified of the latest disaster to hit their communities – looters. It is difficult to say who is a victim and who is a profiteer in the lines of vehicles crammed with fridges and furniture clogging up the roads out of the three devastated towns of Pisco, Chincha, and Ica.
President Alain Garcia promises swift action: “In Chincha I’ve found a situation where people confuse every group that walks by with delinquants. There’s a certain amount of panic”.
Garcia’s sending hundreds of extra police to boost security. “We haven’t found enough security forces to help us” said one Spanish rescue worker. “I don’t need to be keeping my head down. I’ve come fourteen thousand kilometres to help. I paid for my own plane ticket, and for my sniffer dog’s. And these people shoot at me!”
Those who are staying to protect their homes say they are subjected to nightly attack, and accuse the police of only protecting the rich.
Meanwhile the struggle is on to get enough food and fresh water distributed, and open-air churches are trying to provide spiritual nourishment for those still coming to terms with the shock of the disaster, the loss of all they have, or the loss of loved ones.