Flooding, landslides kill at least eight in Peru and Chile

Downpours typical of El Nino continue to cause destruction in South America.

Peru Landslide
The damage after a landslide at the Aplao district in Arequipa, Peru [EPA]

Eight people have been killed across the Pacific coast of South America after heavy rain caused flooding and landslides.

Three people died in Peru when mudslides hit two towns in the southern Arequipa region.

A rescue operation is currently under way to find survivors who may be buried in their vehicles.

Two workers were killed 50km away when another mudslide hit a mine in the Rio Grande Municipality.

Due to the intense rain, a state of emergency has been declared in several municipalities in the southern regions of Moquegua and Tacna.

In Chile, three people were killed in the northern provinces of El Loa and Antofagasta after several days of thunderstorms submerged roads, damaged homes and destroyed bridges.

Chilean state miner Codelco said on Friday that heavy rains forced the suspension of operations at its northern copper mines of Chuquicamata and Ministro Hales.

The rain also brought a waterfall back to life. The 60-metre waterfall in Pica had been dry for the past 10 years, but the recent severe weather revived it.

This is the rainy season in the region so some torrential downpour is expected. This year, however, the rains have been heavier than usual due to the warmth in the Pacific Ocean.

The warmth is almost pronounced enough to be classified as El Nino, which is a natural phenomenon known to affect the weather around the world.

In a typical El Nino year, Indonesia would expect to see a drought, western Canada normally experiences a warm winter and South America is lashed by extreme rain.

The warmth of the ocean has already been blamed for the devastating flooding in northern Argentina as well as the deadly landslides in Rio de Janeiro and Bolivia, and it looks like severe weather will continue.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies