Pipeline Break in Peru

Five hundred indigenous middle- and high-school students will arrive in early March at a Catholic-run boarding school in Wachapea, an Awajun village in Peru, but the sisters and staff do not know where they will take baths. The Chiriaco River, where the students usually bathe, play and wash their clothes, turned black on Feb. 10 as oil from a broken pipeline upriver washed downstream during a heavy rain. Although the slick is gone, a tarry residue remains on the soil and plants along the riverbank. “We need information about what lies ahead, about the health precautions we should take, about how long it will be before people can fish again,” said Sister Carmen Gomez, a member of Servants of St. Joseph mission that operates the school. The pipeline break was one of three that occurred in northern Peru between late January and mid-February, bringing to 20 the number of oil spills from the pipeline since 2011, according to Peru’s environmental oversight agency.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

People and cheered Pope Francis everywhere he went on this last day of his visit.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 21, 2018
A boy presents a hat to Pope Francis upon his arrival at the international airport in Trujillo, Peru, Jan. 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Just as the apostles faced the storm on the sea, you had to face the brunt of ‘El Niño costero.’”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Pope Francis’ statements...were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement released Jan. 20.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 20, 2018
 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018