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IRI photo
Peru Iquitos Mission President Jose Alfonso Li, center, presents a Church-sponsored donation of food and provisions to government leaders of flood-weary communities in northern Peru.

PUTUMAYO PROVINCE, PERU

The Putumayo province in northern Peru is renowned for its massive rivers, indigenous culture and remarkable Amazonian biodiversity. Unfortunately, Putumayo, in 2016, has also been defined by flooding and suffering.

Heavy rains and mudslides have inundated much of the region over the past year, impacting scores of families living in the rural regions. Many have lost their homes. Others have witnessed the destruction of agricultural property essential to feeding their families and earning a living.

The Church — which enjoys a long and ongoing history of humanitarian efforts throughout Peru — recently stepped forward to help ease some of the ongoing suffering of those living in the areas of northern Peru.

A Church-sponsored donation of food and mattresses was presented to local government leaders in the flood-weary region, according to Peru’s Church website. Putumayo Mayor Segundo Julca gratefully accepted the Church’s donation of 18,000 pounds of rice, 7,700 pounds of sugar, 3,000 bottles of cooking oil and 300 mattresses.

Peruvian Congresswoman Patricia Donayre also participated in the event, which was widely covered by media outlets in the region.

The Church was represented at the event by President Jose Alfonso Li, who presides over the Peru Iquitos Mission, along with local Church welfare manager Moroni Torres.

In response to the widespread flooding, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in several communities across northern Peru.

The Church’s relief effort in Putumayo is just one of several Church-sponsored humanitarian and service projects happening across the nation:

• A recent donation of electronic equipment, televisions, furniture and appliances was made to the Sagrada Familia children’s center in Arequipa, Peru, according to the Church webpage. The children’s center serves orphans and other at-risk children from the Arequipa region in eastern Peru. Center administrator Ms. Mirella Fabio Cano called the Church’s donation a “true Christian act” that will improve the lives of the children being served by the facility.

• Hundreds of members donned yellow “Helping Hands” vests and helped clean streets in the Comas and Carabayllo districts of northern Lima. The cleanup effort has become something of an annual event with members and missionaries sweeping up streets and removing graffiti from neighborhood walls. The effort helped promote neighborhood pride in caring for one’s own community.

• And in the city of Puno in southeastern Peru, hundreds of local members and missionaries gathered at the city’s historic center to tidy up main streets and the city’s main pedestrian walkway.

Members worked closely with city officials to identify areas of need.

Peru is home to more than a half-million members and multiple temples.

jswensen@deseretnews.com @JNSwensen

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