Peru battered by severe floods

Torrential downpours hit the South American country, leaving at least 11 people dead and thousands homeless.

    Trucks stranded on the flooded Central Highway after the Rimac River overflowed in the province of Huarochiri, Lima [EPA]
    Trucks stranded on the flooded Central Highway after the Rimac River overflowed in the province of Huarochiri, Lima [EPA]

    Weeks of heavy and steady rain across much of Peru has been blamed for at least 11 deaths in northern, central and southern parts of the country.

    As of Saturday, more than 5,000 people have been left homeless after the latest round of downpours, with 588 houses destroyed so far this year.

    A state of emergency has been declared in 42 areas in Peru, including several towns in the northern region of Tumbes where the Zaramilla River has burst its banks. As much as 111mm of rain was recorded there on Thursday.

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    There has been widespread flooding and a number of mudslides. The Centre of Emergency (COE-FEN) reported that a total of 200km of roads have been cut off by the high waters.

    The Central Highway remains treacherous, and this is the main access route for food supplies into the capital city, Lima. The road at Huarochiri has been badly damaged in places.

    The Peruvian president, Ollanta Humala toured the country mid-week and declared that despite repairs, works remain ongoing after the Rimac River flooded the highway a week ago.

    This season has been particularly bad, with COE-FEN reporting that 79,245 people have been affected and 12,941 houses partially damaged.

    El Nino has been blamed for the severe weather. The World Meteorological Organization has already said that this current El Nino phenomenon is the strongest in 15 years.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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