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ACORN members collect donations at Palermo, Lima to deliver to earthquake victimsin Chincha..A severe earthquake, measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale, struck southern Peru at 6:41 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15. Officials are currently reporting almost 500 deaths and more than 1,000 injured as a result.

Most of the damage occurred approximately 74 miles from Lima, in the cities of Pisco, Chicha, and Ica, where 70 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

The effects of the earthquake were also felt in Lima - where ACORN Peru has its office - and in the communities where ACORN is organizing chapters. Lima is experiencing power outages and damaged roads and buildings. Health Minister Carlos Vallejos has also declared hospitals in a state of emergency.

The homes in the informal district of San Juan de Lurigancho are the most vulnerable to earthquakes due to their structural instability. ACORN communities in this area have suffered from falling rocks and weakened housing foundations.

ACORN Peru members and staff continue to work through these difficult times and search for the best means to support those affected by this disaster.

Please take time now to make an online donation to help ACORN Peru.

ACORN Peru

ACORN Peru's mission is to empower low- to moderate-income communities by building a multi-ethnic, multi-regional and multi-issue organization, uniting all Peruvians around their common interests.

The founding office of Community Organizations International, ACORN Peru was born in 2004 in Lima. After 4 years, ACORN Peru now has over 3,000 members actively campaigning for equality and human rights.

Our major successes include:

A campaign against privatization of Peru's national water system in partnership with the Peruvian Water Worker's Union (FENTAP) which helped keep the water systems public in a dozen states in the country.

In keeping with our commitment to ensure water access to the poor, ACORN Peru has also worked to bring potable water to the 1-million strong squatters settlement of San Juan de Lurigancho. By negotiating with housing authorities, as well as with the public water company SEDAPAL, we were able to guarantee water access to a section of the population. SEDAPAL has agreed to install stand pipes at appropriate locations, reduce the price of installation and per-family charges, and significantly expand the coverage.

Access to water is directly linked to housing. In this regard, we have worked in collaboration with COPOFRI, a subdivision of Peru's housing authority. The work with COPOFRI has included educating people of the possibility of gaining formal ownership of their houses. Formal ownership is a key step for household water connections. Water connections have traditionally been denied to people who do not own homes, and also who are hesitant to pay for sewage and pipes because their housing situation is unstable.

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