Photos From Belan, Iquitos. It is gritty. At 9 am, the locals are gathered in the neighborhood bar swilling moonshine. On the street dozens meander around giant stacks of plantains, searching for the best buy. The sky is a gloomy grey and the humidity hovers over the dense neighborhood. Mototaxis prowl the dirty, chewed up streets. I feel like I have taken a step back in time.
Belan District is a neighborhood in Iquitos. Iquitos is the largest landlocked city in the world, lost in the Peruvian Amazon. No road leads to this city.
Belan is mired in poverty. Basic services like electricity, clean water and sanitation are lacking. Residents are susceptible to illnesses like malaria, respiratory illnesses, and tuberculosis. The area also has elevated levels of crime, alcoholism, and unemployment.
Belan is bordered by the massive Belan Market and the Itaya River (a tributary of the Amazon). Belan serves as a port, dumping passengers and goods from isolated villages across the Amazon. Boats continually slide up on to the muddy, trash strewn land.
Much of Belan is located on a floodplain. Homes come in one of two varieties to counter the river when it is flooding. Some of the simple wooden homes tower on wood poles. Other homes rest directly on the water. The homes are built on wooden rafts, and simply float when the water rises. Outhouses, barely providing privacy, sit separately from the homes. The waste is delivered directly into the river, adjacent to the residents doing their laundry in the same water.
Check out the other things to see in Iquitos!