According to government figures, the Afro-descendant minority in Peru numbers about 2 million people out of a total population of about 23 million – 45 per cent of whom are indigenous.
The continuing marginalization and difficulty experienced by Afro-Peruvians was once again demonstrated in 2007. This was very evident following the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Peru's southern coast in August 2007, killing more than 500 people, injuring over 1,000 and destroying some 34,000 homes.
One week after the disaster MRG expressed concern that crucial humanitarian relief was still not reaching the Afro-Peruvian population who made up the majority of the worst affected among the hundreds of thousands left homeless.
Peruvian Afro-descendants' rights advocate Jorge Ramirez Reyner of ASONEDH criticized the government for doing nothing to help the mostly rural Afro-Peruvian communities and for excluding them from the relief process, especially since all humanitarian aid was channelled through the government.
In keeping with the all-pervasive national climate of deep discrimination and prejudice, there were also charges that the Peruvian media chose to ignore the plight of the disaster-affected Afro-Peruvians – who had lost everything – and instead preferred to portray them as looters and thieves.
Additionally, critics pointed out that severely damaged road systems made it particularly difficult to deliver relief to the rural zones where most of the Afro-Peruvian communities are located. They charged that this was another indication of an ongoing pattern of infrastructural under-investment and official neglect that has characterized the relationship between successive Peruvian governments and the Afro-Peruvian population.
Unlike efforts in neighbouring countries, the Afro-Peruvian presence is still not adequately addressed by the country's statistical instruments, which means that Afro-Peruvian communities remain officially invisible as well as deprived.
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