Tens of thousands of people have been affected by heavy rain which has brought flooding to much of central Peru.

The rain has resulted in extensive flooding and mudslides, with the regions of Cuzco, Huanuco and Pasco being worst affected.

Rainfall in the region usually peaks in late January and February and the country’s infrastructure is often found wanting.

This time last year, the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu was closed for two months after the Vilacanota River overflowed, damaging the narrow-gauge railway line which leads to the foot of the site.

Currently, problems in the area are not as severe, although hikers on the Inca Trail have been delayed and forced to detour along the route.  The situation will, no doubt, be closely monitored by the authorities, as the trail and site are a major tourist draw, and this is the hundredth anniversary of Machu Picchu’s discovery.

Elsewhere, 50 towns and villages on the Huaylas and Conchucos routes have been cut off by mudslides in the last week.

In Ancash, popular with mountaineers, access has been restricted due to heavy rain and thunderstorms.

In Huanuco, at least 500 people have been affected by the overflowing of the Pachitea River.

In Pasco, flooding from the Pichis River has resulted in at least 65 towns and villages being inundated.

Relief efforts to these regions depend heavily on helicopter drops, but these have been severely restricted by low cloud.

The situation is likely to worsen before the seasonal rains reach their peak, and the forecast for the next 10 days suggests heavy rain or thunderstorms will continue to keep the rivers topped up.

Source: Al Jazeera