No need for bridges as the rivers run dry

In Peru glaciers are swiftly melting as a result of the warming climate. This is affecting the lives of small-scale and subsistence farming communities. There is little water available now.

This bridge was used by a community in the Peruvian Highlands to cross to the other side of the river. As the glacier that feeds the river has gradually been melting, the river is now drying out. Today there is no need for these communities to use the bridge. The river used to carry a lot of water which came from the nearby glacier in Paras, Ayacucho.

The unpredictability of the rains makes it difficult for people to know when best to plant or when to harvest. Similarly, the extremes of cold and hot weather have either frozen or dried up their crops.

Nearby there is a lagoon fed by the Ritipata glacier. The lagoon, called Chibchiri, isn’t dry yet, but soon it will be as the water level is very low and there are visible signs that it is shrinking. This lagoon keeps the pastures moist and the land well-irrigated. When Ritipata melts altogether, the lagoon will disappear with devastating consequences for the pastures. The cycle will be broken. No water for pastures, no pastures to feed the animals, no water for crops. The result will be no income and no food for the community; increased poverty, hunger, and being forced off their homelands – these are the very real impacts of climate change facing these vulnerable communities.

Christian Aid in Peru works with grassroots partners to ensure communities are better equipped to adapt to the effects of climate change and works nationally to create a movement of civil society organisations that work to put climate change at the centre of the Peruvian government’s agenda.