An indigenous woman walking amid the fog.

Fog catchers provide water to deserted hills of Lima

Peruvians living in one of the world's driest areas may have a solution to their water crisis - "fog catchers" that catch droplets through thick, swirling blankets of mist.

The NGO Peruvians Without Water has helped provide panels covered with polyethene nets, which carry the droplets through a pipe to a collection tank that can be accessed by around 20,000 residents from the El Trebol squatter settlement in the capital Lima.

"For us, it's like a miracle because we didn't think we would have so much water from this fog catcher," said Justina Flores, a 49-year-old woman who lives on a treeless hill.

Lima is the world's second-largest city built in a desert, after Cairo.

Flores said that a 20-square-meter panel can collect 200 litres of water in a day and that it is enough to cook at least one community pot that feeds 60 neighbours.

More than 1.2 million inhabitants of Peru's capital city suffer from a lack of access to water.

For Abel Cruz, president of the Peruvians Without Water, neighbourhoods like El Trebol are places where it is almost impossible for the government to build infrastructure to provide drinking water.

According to official data, a single liquid connection to a house can cost 35,000 US dollars.

For families like Flores', living in the higher, uninhabited hill area was the only option because the prices for living in the lower part of the city were too expensive.

Flores occupied the land she now owns as thousands of Peruvians have done over the past 60 years, without planning and amidst the authorities' disinterest in providing adequate housing options for the working class.