By Devin Watkins
The “Respira Peru”, or “Breathe, Peru”, campaign has had rousing success, raising almost 8 million Euros for Covid-19 sufferers.
The initiative began last July as a fundraiser to support hospitals across Peru as they treat coronavirus cases.
Organizers say the funds are used to guarantee much-needed oxygen supplies and other medical equipment in the fight against Covid-19.
Telethon of tenderness
“Breathe, Peru” held its second, 4-hour telethon last Saturday on Pan-American Television.
Pope Francis even got in on the action by sending his support for the initiative and inviting donors to give generously.
He said they are helping “make God’s tenderness reach everyone through care, building a more humane and fraternal society, in which we ensure that no one is left alone, or feels excluded or abandoned.”
The campaign is spurred on by Peru’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference, in conjunction with the University of St. Ignatius of Loyola and a host of national businesses.
At the telethon event, Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, President of the Bishops’ Conference, expressed his gratitude to donors.
He underlined the profoundly human and spiritual value of efforts to save lives.
The University president, Raul Diez Canseco Terry, recalled the many people who have toiled in silence to help others throughout the pandemic.
He also urged the government and private sectors to shift resources temporarily to promote the creation of oxygen supplies.
The campaign is responding to a critical situation in Peru. Hospitals throughout the country have been crippled by a shortage of oxygen supplies.
Long lines have formed in the capital, Lima, as relatives and friends of Covid-19 patients seek out the last remaining bottled oxygen available. Reuters reports that prices have tripled in some regions.
As of Wednesday, Peru had recorded nearly 1.3 million cases and over 45,000 deaths.