The capital city of Peru, Lima, and surrounding suburbs have been struck by multiple floods throughout the past week. The rare El Nino “phenomenon” caused record downpours and the over flooding of local rivers, and rain is expected to last for two more weeks, only worsening the situation. Announced as a “state of emergency,” the cities of Peru have been greatly affected by this with over 115,000 homeless and more than one million without running water. 78 lives have been lost already, and as the death toll rapidly rises, little to no media coverage has been executed. Could the reason for this be that Peru is still a developing country, with over half of its citizens living below the poverty line? Or could it simply be an act of marginalized racism?
The recent terrorist attack in London, with a reported four lives lost, has received more news coverage in the past twenty-four hours than the tragedies in Lima, Peru, have received in the past ten days. Coverage has also led for those on twitter using the #PrayforLondon hashtag. Where is the trending hashtag for the 100,000 homeless in Peru? Is this a biased act against Peru, or is this just a simple media hiccup? Signs from the past are pointing many to believe that this is, in fact, not a mistake.
In November of 2015, the city of Paris, France, was attacked, and 129 people lost their lives. Over 430 million social media posts, retweets, and comments were shared to remember the lives lost in an act of solidarity within the following day. The infamous #PrayforParis hashtag brought awareness, donations, and ultimately did more than one would expect from the simplicity of a hashtag. Meanwhile, Peru has no hashtag. No one, at least in what seems like the Western world, is “praying for Peru.”
While, of course, it is important for the world to mourn and help said cities such as London and Paris grieve, but why is it impossible for the people grieve over under-developed countries as well? Why is it that predominantly white, developed countries with a high GDP rate receive more attention from the media? Is it because of the racially biased stigma that surrounds said countries?
Whatever the circumstance or bias against those affected be, it is important for us, as humans, to help out those in need. Donations are being accepted by VIDA USA and Love Thy Neighbor Charity. I also encourage those reading to use the hashtag #PrayforPeru in the hopes of spreading awareness of the tragedies in Lima.