New Church-built well provides relief to thousands in Peru

Water — it’s as fundamental to sustaining human life as your next breath. The world’s most prevalent yet precious liquid also provides dignity and self-reliance while remaining the key ingredient for a community’s development, growth and potential.

The Church’s ongoing commitment to helping deliver clean water to people in need was on full display recently in the town of San Cristo in northern Peru.

When local wells that provide drinkable water to much of San Cristo’s population began to produce brackish water, the Church’s welfare department stepped forward and donated a new well.

Last month, local civic and Church leaders gathered to dedicate San Cristo’s newest community water source. The lives of thousands of people will improve because they have access to clean water, Newsroom in Peru reported.

The desperately needed San Cristo well “will provide a defense against anemia and malnutrition — a scourge that mainly attacks children,” said Piura Regional Gov. Reynaldo Hilbck Guzman. “Mothers will have more alternatives, together with the (government) authorities, to deal with malnutrition.”

Studies determined the feasibility of the Church-sponsored well project. Good quality water was found at 135 meters below the earth’s surface, with a flow of 42 liters per second, Newsroom reported.

Piura (Peru) Regional Governor Reynaldo Hilbck Guzmán with residents at the new well in San Cristo, Peru on Nov. 23, 2018.
Piura (Peru) Regional Governor Reynaldo Hilbck Guzmán with residents at the new well in San Cristo, Peru on Nov. 23, 2018. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

San Cristio Mayor Augusto Quiroga Cherre, local civic leaders Sebastian Espinoza and Hipolito Collazoa Anton, and regional Church public affairs representative Patricia Caceres de Bustamante also participated in the dedication ceremony for the new well.

The San Cristo well project is the latest chapter in the Church's long-established commitment to humanitarian service in Peru, a South American nation that is home to almost 600,000 Latter-day Saints.

During his October tour of several South American countries, President Russell M. Nelson met with Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra at the Government Palace in Lima. They were joined by Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The men discussed the Church’s humanitarian response efforts in Peru, along with the charge that local members have to be good citizens and serve their respective communities.

From left, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and President Russell M. Nelson meet with Peruvian president Martin Vizcarro on Oct. 20, 2018, in Lima. The men discussed the Church's ongoing humanitarian service in Peru.
From left, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and President Russell M. Nelson meet with Peruvian president Martin Vizcarro on Oct. 20, 2018, in Lima. The men discussed the Church’s ongoing humanitarian service in Peru.

It is perhaps ironic that the San Cristo well project comes about a year after Peru endured a brutal flood season that claimed scores of lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Local Church welfare leaders worked closely with Peruvian government officials to deliver flood relief provisions where they were most desperately needed. More than 380 tons of Church-donated relief supplies benefitted 103,000 flood victims.

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 members volunteered about 12,000 service hours to prepare 55,700 emergency relief kits.

Providing clean water, of course, is one of the Church’s key humanitarian initiatives.

In countries across the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, the Church helps provide clean water to people in need by building water and sanitation systems, teaching communities hygiene and system maintenance and doing all they can to help people meet their own long-term water needs.