Winters in the Peruvian Andes have been progressively more extreme in recent years and Unidad 4X4 identified villages in the Yauyos province (in excess of 4,700m above sea level) which needed extra support. In August 2018, eight 4×4 vehicles and 30 volunteers (including medical doctors) embarked on a humanitarian aid mission to the villages of Huarmicocha, Betania and Cacra assisting 245 local people. They provided food supplies, warm clothing, blankets, rubber boots and medicines that were donated by numerous individuals, organisations and institutions. The volunteer medical doctors were able to provide much needed medical attention to the elderly men and women, adults and children in the community.
Following the success of the Yauyos province mission, the Unidad volunteers remain aware many other villages that require support and this sparked the planning of Yauyos Humanitarian Mission Phase II in November 2018 and Phase III in April 2019. Yauyos Humanitarian Mission Phase II focused on the most remote and isolated communities and people around Huarmicocha, Poroche and Betania, and Mission phase III on communities around Huarmicocha and Bethany. These villages can only be reached on foot and couldn’t be attended to in the previous mission due to their remote locations and lack of a reliable communications link. This link was provided using a Barrett 2090 HF manpack radio that allowed the volunteers to maintain communications from these remote communities.
The aid provided in Phases II and III consisted of hardware and technical advice for the modification of 28 homes in the villages to make them safer and warmer. They also provided food, warm clothing, blankets and medical aid. Anibal Paredes of Unidad 4X4 explained that “with the installation of a “Trombe Wall” and an enhanced wood stove, the homes of these people will significantly improve. The temperature inside the homes will be 10°-15°C warmer and free of toxic smoke from an open flame cooking fire.”
Mr Paredes’s passion has extended beyond organising and running the mission to include establishing an emergency radio listening and monitoring service with a station in Chaclacayo, Lima and Pisco, Ica. On March 12 2019, Mr Paredes heard a repeated call requesting medical care for a pregnant woman in Viscatan. After repeated transmissions and no response, the radio operator questioned openly if anybody was receiving the call. As no response to the transmission was made, Mr Paredes stepped in advising that he had heard the call, who he was and offered to forward the message. A doctor was contacted and an ambulance was sent, immediately departing for Viscatan two hours away. Both mother and baby received the medical care they needed. Mr Paredes commented “we are pleased to have the two stations but we are keen to add additional stations in the future.”
Mr Andrew Burt, CEO of Barrett Communications, commented “Unidad 4×4 and Mr Paredes’s passion to help these people in some of the most remote parts of the Peru has to be commended. The work they do is making a real difference in the lives of the people they support.” Barrett Communications are proud to support Unidad 4×4 as they continue their work.