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Peru: Visits to detainees and aid for victims of "El Niño"

01-04-1998 News Release 98/13

To help combat a cholera epidemic in La Merced prison, the ICRC last week provided the detaining authorities with cleaning products, chlorine and rehydration salts.

Over the past few weeks, ICRC delegates have visited 1,380 detainees (about 60 of them for the first time) in places of detention under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice. They also saw some 80  people (20 of them for the first time) held in facilities run by the Ministry of the Interior, and visited a dozen detainees in places under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. In addition, the delegation in Lima gave talks to the staff of the Chorrillos, Miguel Castro Castro and Yanamayo prisons to explain the ICRC's work for detainees.

The El Niño weather phenomenon is continuing to wreak havoc in Peru. The authorities have declared a state of emergency in 15 of the country's 23 departments. The death toll has been estimated at over 200 and the number of people affected by the disaster at around 350,000. The departments of Cuzco and Cajamarca are the hardest hit, and the road between Lima and Huancayo has also been badly damaged, cutting the capital off from its main source of food supplies. The ICRC has given logistic support to the Peruvian Red Cross and the other National Societies taking part in the operation to assist disaster victims, which is being conducted with the help of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.