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Flooding, Pisco, and Free Education

Categories: Latin America, Peru, Disaster, Education, Humanitarian Response

La Merced, 26 [1]

In the last couple weeks there has been flooding and landslides in the beautiful region of Chanchamayo, located in the central jungle of the country. Even though the media have covered the situation extensively, it seems that bloggers haven't been interested in the topic. However, it's likely that, there, they have written about it and I haven't seen the posts, except for Peru Llacta: “Lessons unlearned [2]“, which reflects on our deeply rooted lack of foresight and the consequent wastefulness of resources. From the USA, Peruanista writes for English speaking readers in “Peru floods: How to help [3]:”

Recent floods and mudslides have ocurred in the central Andes of Peru, as a result of an unexpected and larger than normal rainfall, that is going on since the end of 2006. Over 16 people are dead, dozens are missing and thousands have lost their homes, businesses, lifestock and farmland. The reconstruction process will take over 6 months according to Peru's government, but for many it will take much longer before they can return to normal life.

Peruanista includes maps, videos, and links to websites that are working with the victims. From Spain, Imaginariums also comments about what happened in “Seeking scores of missing people due to floods and avalanches in Peru. [4]” Curiously, animals also received blog attention as the ADEA (Group for the Ethical Defense of Animals) launched an SOS for animals of the Central Forest [5].

Changing topics, this past weekend celebrated the Day of Pisco [6]. At Cinencuentro they departed from their usual topic for a moment and commemorated the day with post Photo of the day: happy pisco day [7]. And since it could not be any another way, Pisco Weblog's post title was instructive: Day of the Pisco Sour [8]. However, we must also remember what Milanta says in: The good thing: PISCO, but… [9]. Of course, it's good to celebrate, but let's not exaggerate.

Finally, one of the topics that has attracted more interested parties to the debate was the proposal to end the free tuition of public university education. Gran Combo Club has an excellent summary in two posts: “Free education [10]” and Free education II [11]. It summarizes various points of view in diverse different media, as well as linking to some bloggers that took up the subject. Meanwhile, Pueblo Vruto leaves no doubt regarding his favor of the proposal in his post “Terrible but necessary. [12]” And finally, La Cebolla adds a touch of necessary humor in: “100% of students will go to private universities by 2011 [13].” If the proposal becomes more serious, it will definitively give bloggers a lot more to talk about, but at the moment we'll leave it at that.

The photo accompanying this post is of La Merced, part of the zone of Chanchamayo. I took it a couple months ago while I was there. It is not the zone affected by the floods and landslides but you can see the creeping development close to the river's edge, which is why full rivers inevitably lead to flooded land. Soon this new development will have, if it does not already, small thatch huts with people living in them, which guarantees that the next floods are even more damaging.

Translated from Spanish [14] by David Sasaki.