A street in Chimbote

About Chimbote and Peru


Peru is located in western South America on the Pacific Ocean and is proportionate in size to the state of Alaska. The topography is comprised of three very diverse regions: the western coastal plains, the high and rugged Andes mountains and the eastern lowland jungle of the Amazon Basin. It has a population of just under 30 million people with approximately 25% living in its capital city of Lima. Peru is divided into 25 regions and while it remains a poor country, it is one of the richest in terms of natural resources such as gold, silver, and copper. The political structure in Peru is a presidential representative democratic republic. The government is divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Sadly, corruption is a very significant problem in Peru and a great divide remains between the very wealthy and those living in poverty.

Chimbote is the largest city in the Ancash region of Peru, and the capital of both the Santa Province and Chimbote District. Home to more than 400,000 people, many of whom live in extreme poverty, Chimbote lies approximately 250 miles north of Lima in a coastal desert region.

In 1940, Chimbote was a small fishing port with a population of 2,400. Following the opening of several fish factories and an iron and steel plant, the village population multiplied more than seventy times boosting the inhabitants to 170,000 by 1970. That same year, with a continued migration of countless families from the mountains seeking employment, a devastating earthquake occurred in Chimbote. An estimated 70,000 lives were lost and thousands were left homeless.  Since then the city of Chimbote has slowly been rebuilt but lacks infrastructure.  Overfishing has occurred along with environmental pollution leading to hundreds of fishing boats floating empty in the Chimbote harbor and fish factories closed or in partial operating mode. Along with long-standing governmental corruption at all levels, these factors continue to contribute to an economy in Chimbote that has left thousands of families struggling to survive.

Chimbote fishing boats
Today, Chimbote continues to see high rates of unemployment, a deflated fishing industry, corrupt politicians, and thousands of residents living in windowless, woven-reed shacks. While the infrastructure has been improved in some areas with sidewalks and paved streets, the impoverished neighborhoods (commonly referred to as barrios) served by our mission often lack even the most basic needs such as sewer, running water, or electricity.

The education system in Peru has been and continues to be dismal with the Peruvian government historically investing less in its education system than most of its neighboring countries in South America. A 2012 study conducted by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) rated 15-year-old students from 64 countries on their knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern society. Areas assessed included reading, mathematics, science, and problem-solving. Sadly, Peru was ranked the lowest of all 64 countries.

Amidst the despair in Chimbote related to unemployment, inadequate housing, and a poor education system, the Friends of Chimbote mission is becoming recognized as a leading organization in the community through its focus on education, empowerment, and transformation.

Things to Know about Peru

  • The Nuevo Sol is the official currency of Peru
  • International Phone Dialing Code for Peru is + 51
  • Electricity in Peru is 230V / 60 Hz
  • Mining, fishing and tourism are the top three industries
  • An estimated 1.5 million people visit the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu each year
  • Peru celebrates its independence from the Spanish Empire on the 28th and 29th of July
  • Peru is the largest exporter of asparagus in the world
Aerial view of Chimbote

Interesting Facts about Chimbote

The city’s first inhabitants were the Recuay, the Inca, the Wari, and the Moche peoples.
Chimbote was once considered the anchovy capital of the world.
Fishing remains one of Chimbote’s chief industries, though recurring El Ninos and overfishing caused restrictions to be imposed to ensure its survival.
Spanish is the official language, with Quechua and Aymrar as secondary languages.
Chimbote’s climate is classified as mild desert with daytime temperatures ranging from the low 70s to mid 80s dependent upon the time of year.
Annual precipitation is near zero.

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