Peruvian Air Force Rescues Thousands of Civilians from Heavy Rains, Landslides

Peruvian Air Force Rescues Thousands of Civilians from Heavy Rains, Landslides

By Dialogo
March 13, 2015




The Peruvian Air Force (PAF) conducted a humanitarian airlift last month to rescue more than 3,300 civilians from landslides and flooding caused by heavy rains in the Department of San Martín, responding quickly to the January 30 deluge to transport civilians -- both residents and tourists -- to safety.

With children, the elderly, the disabled, and others trapped between kilometer 17 and 47 of the Fernando Belaúnde Terry Highway, PAF Commander General Dante Arévalo Abate ordered the airlift to continue for as long as necessary. Aircraft made 163 round trips, logging more than 70 hours of flight time.

Landslides caused by the deluge killed one person, injured three, and damaged the homes of thousands of people; the heavy rains and flooding, meanwhile, damaged highways, schools, crops, and more than 800 homes, leaving 6,334 people homeless. Consequently, tourism declined sharply, according to Peruvian news agency Andina; overall, the rains, landslides, and flooding caused estimated economic damages of $100 million soles (approximately US$32,258,000).

Prepared to assist civilians from natural disasters


Rescue efforts mobilized a wide variety of aircraft, including three DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400s, with a capacity to transport 20 people per flight, and an Antonov AN-32 aircraft, with a capacity to rescue 50 people per flight. Meanwhile, PAF authorities prioritized which civilians should be evacuated first and took measures to assure that passengers were as comfortable as possible as they waited to be transported and during their flights.

The FAP has a tradition of airlifting civilians to safety during natural disasters that threaten public safety.

“It has been shown that when faced with an emergency of this magnitude, the airways are an important mode of transport," said Major General Marcos Huamán Corrales, the commander general of Air Wing No. 5, according to Inforegión
. "The aircraft of the Air Force of Peru are always available to the populations most in need.”

Military forces are prepared to conduct rescues and deliver humanitarian assistance during the rainy season, from November to April. The Armed Forces also assists the civilian population in the wake of earthquakes and tsunamis.

“Civic action and support have been a very important operational variable for the PAF, ever since the 1960s, particularly with Aerial Group No. 8, which specializes in transport, and Aerial Group No. 3, which is made up of helicopters," according to Andrés Gómez de la Torre, a security analyst in Peru. "The case of the earthquake and subsequent flood in 1970 was an experience that determined a significant future role for the Air Force, with the use of its transport aircraft and helicopters to respond to these types of phenomena.”

In 1970, an earthquake in the Pacific Ocean off the Peruvian coast caused massive damages in the Departments of Ancash and La Libertad, killing more than 74,000 people. Another 25,000 people were declared missing.

FAP participates in bilateral disaster drills


To prepare for earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters, the PAF participates in bilateral training exercies with neighboring partner nations. For example, during the first six months of 2014, Peru joined the Armed Forces of 13 other countries to participate in drills focused on responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and learned the best ways to provide medical assistance and conduct airlifts.

Such training is crucial in preparing for the large number of natural disasters that strike Peru. In 2012, for instance, heavy rains prompted the Peruvian government to declare a state of emergency in 19 regions. Loreto was the hardest hit, with 300,000 families affected, according to the Emergency Center (Coen-Indeci).





The Peruvian Air Force (PAF) conducted a humanitarian airlift last month to rescue more than 3,300 civilians from landslides and flooding caused by heavy rains in the Department of San Martín, responding quickly to the January 30 deluge to transport civilians -- both residents and tourists -- to safety.

With children, the elderly, the disabled, and others trapped between kilometer 17 and 47 of the Fernando Belaúnde Terry Highway, PAF Commander General Dante Arévalo Abate ordered the airlift to continue for as long as necessary. Aircraft made 163 round trips, logging more than 70 hours of flight time.

Landslides caused by the deluge killed one person, injured three, and damaged the homes of thousands of people; the heavy rains and flooding, meanwhile, damaged highways, schools, crops, and more than 800 homes, leaving 6,334 people homeless. Consequently, tourism declined sharply, according to Peruvian news agency Andina; overall, the rains, landslides, and flooding caused estimated economic damages of $100 million soles (approximately US$32,258,000).

Prepared to assist civilians from natural disasters


Rescue efforts mobilized a wide variety of aircraft, including three DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400s, with a capacity to transport 20 people per flight, and an Antonov AN-32 aircraft, with a capacity to rescue 50 people per flight. Meanwhile, PAF authorities prioritized which civilians should be evacuated first and took measures to assure that passengers were as comfortable as possible as they waited to be transported and during their flights.

The FAP has a tradition of airlifting civilians to safety during natural disasters that threaten public safety.

“It has been shown that when faced with an emergency of this magnitude, the airways are an important mode of transport," said Major General Marcos Huamán Corrales, the commander general of Air Wing No. 5, according to Inforegión
. "The aircraft of the Air Force of Peru are always available to the populations most in need.”

Military forces are prepared to conduct rescues and deliver humanitarian assistance during the rainy season, from November to April. The Armed Forces also assists the civilian population in the wake of earthquakes and tsunamis.

“Civic action and support have been a very important operational variable for the PAF, ever since the 1960s, particularly with Aerial Group No. 8, which specializes in transport, and Aerial Group No. 3, which is made up of helicopters," according to Andrés Gómez de la Torre, a security analyst in Peru. "The case of the earthquake and subsequent flood in 1970 was an experience that determined a significant future role for the Air Force, with the use of its transport aircraft and helicopters to respond to these types of phenomena.”

In 1970, an earthquake in the Pacific Ocean off the Peruvian coast caused massive damages in the Departments of Ancash and La Libertad, killing more than 74,000 people. Another 25,000 people were declared missing.

FAP participates in bilateral disaster drills


To prepare for earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters, the PAF participates in bilateral training exercies with neighboring partner nations. For example, during the first six months of 2014, Peru joined the Armed Forces of 13 other countries to participate in drills focused on responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and learned the best ways to provide medical assistance and conduct airlifts.

Such training is crucial in preparing for the large number of natural disasters that strike Peru. In 2012, for instance, heavy rains prompted the Peruvian government to declare a state of emergency in 19 regions. Loreto was the hardest hit, with 300,000 families affected, according to the Emergency Center (Coen-Indeci).


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