El Niño weather
29th May: From fear to joy
When 13-year-old Jenifer heard that El Niño was on its way to Peru, fear invaded her thoughts and interrupted her sleep.
“When I heard that El Niño was coming with heavy rains, I felt scared as I thought my house would flood because the roof of my house had holes and cracks; and during the rainy season we used to cover the roof with plastic, but this time I knew we would need more than plastic. I couldn’t sleep well thinking of that; but I didn’t tell my mum a word. I pretended everything was ok. I prayed to God many times: Please, please…help us!”
El Niño was coming to Peru with heavy rains affecting the northern coast and highlands. It started to rain in places where it never rained before and houses were not prepared to resist this change.
One of the most affected cities in the northern coast of Peru was Trujillo, known as the city of the Eternal Spring, where 12 Compassion-assisted projects work. The rainy season is usually between August and October, but the rain is very light. However this year, heavy rains started in January and ended in March.
Compassion projects located in this part of Peru started a prayer movement asking God to take control of the weather. Project directors moved quickly and visited every at-risk house in order to be aware of the needs. A RESPOND Initiative was prepared for disaster cases to assist 5,000 sponsored children, improving their housing conditions with corrugated iron roofs, plywood, wooden beams, retaining walls, plastic, water buckets and mosquito nets.
Jenifer lives with her mum, Elsa, and her 2-year-old brother, Rodrigo. Her father left the house, leaving the family struggling to survive. They live in a small, 2-bedroom house made of cardboard, bags and sticks. The door is made of tables wrapped with cardboard and the roof is an old corrugated iron.
When Jenifer heard that they were going to receive roofing material, her heart exploded with excitement and gratefulness.
“One day I was at the project and the director made us pray for the El Niño phenomenon. It was weird to say, ‘Thank you, God’ for this season, because I was scared. After praying, sister Sarai told me that Compassion was going to help me with a new roof for my house, then I said, ‘Thank you God!’ with all my heart,” said Jenifer with a smile on her face.
God has changed Jenifer’s fear into joy. Thanks to Compassion’s support, Jenifer not only received roofing material but also some adobe bricks to strengthen a wall of her small house.
“Seeing the new roof in my house has given us security. Rains came, but my house didn’t flood and that has given us joy. I have been able to sleep well and with no fear. I am thankful to God and to my sponsor who prays and cares about me. I am thankful to the brothers and sisters of the church because of their prayers. I will be always praying for my sponsor and the rest of the sponsors to keep helping children around the world,” said Jenifer with teary eyes.
This year, the damage caused by El Niño in Peru was less severe than expected. God heard the prayers of many children, project staff, country staff and sponsors.
Father we thank you for Jenifer's testimony of answered prayer. We rejoice for your provision and protection over Peru. Please continue to provide for the most vulnerable children and families.
11 January 2016
Experts are warning that the strongest El Niño weather cycle on record is likely to increase the threat of hunger and disease for millions of people in the upcoming year. The weather phenomenon is set to exacerbate droughts in some areas, while increasing flooding in others.
In their January update, Compassion Peru ask for prayer as they prepare for the weather changes caused by El Niño. There is a national plan to prevent the effects of El Niño,” says Juan Carlos from the Country Office. “Part of it is to coordinate with the different local authorities to work for prevention. From our side, we are providing reimbursements for families that need to reinforce the structure of their homes, make retention walls, and similar activities. We are also preparing RESPOND Initiatives to make the local churches places of refuge with tools, water and food.
We know that the churches will be the first line of action when an event happens, so the first thing is working with the churches and authorities to get the inhabitants organised. We have contacted Christian ministries that specialise in this issue and civil defense authorities, so they can train people in each area of risk: Piura, Chiclayo (north coast), Moyobamba, Bagua (jungle area), Huancayo (Andes mountains)—really all over the country. On top of that, each church has its own Emergency Committee, who have sent at least one person to the trainings we had this November.”
Please pray for protection for Peru.