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USAID awards grant to Peruvian NGO to help clean up oil spill

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a grant worth $100,000 to the Peruvian environmental fund Profonanpe to support clean-up operations related to an oil spill that occurred at La Pampilla earlier this year. The funds are expected to fuel Profonanpe’s collaboration with the National Service of Protected Natural Areas by the State (SERNANP) and the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) in an effort to mitigate the oil spill and prevent damage to wildlife.

The spill occurred in late January, when the Mare Doricum, an Italian-flagged Suezmax tanker, attempted to unloaded a 1mn barrel cargo of crude at the port of La Pampilla near Lima for delivery to a refinery owned by Repsol (Spain). Peru’s Environment Ministry has reported that the incident caused tens of thousands of oil to leak into the ocean, subsequently causing dozens of kilometres of coastline to be contaminated.

An array of Peruvian NGOs will work together with Profonanpe, SERNANP and SERFOR to develop a framework for environmental assessment and monitoring so that wildlife and ecosystems in the surrounding areas can be protected from further damage. Profonanpe is expected to compile a list of all animal species and habitats that are believed to have been affected by the oil spill.

Beyond the protection of wildlife affected by the oil spill, the co-operating bodies are also expected to prepare a range of assessments aimed at understanding the larger environmental impacts that one such oil spill will have as well as prepare a contingency plan to handle future disasters, should they arise.

“With the support of USAID, highly specialised teams from the US Coast Guard and the National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided technical assistance in emergency preparedness, planning, response and recovery activities,” said Jene Thomas, USAID’s director in Peru.

Thomas also mentioned that the US grant to Peru reinforces the nation’s intention to collaborate with Peru in an effort to overcome this emergency and prevent crises of this nature in the future.

Anton Willems, the CEO of Profonanpe, expressed his satisfaction with the donation, explaining that his organisation’s co-operation with USAID would advance efforts to improve emergency response to oil spills. The grant will help “generate data to help public and private institutions make decisions based on evidence and be able to take the appropriate actions in similar situations that arise,” Willems remarked.