Peruvians struggled on Sunday to cope with avalanches, mudslides and extensive flash flooding caused by torrential downpours, and forecasters predicted still more rain ahead, prolonging the country’s woes.
The highly unusual rains follow a series of storms that have struck hard along Peru’s northern coast, with voracious waters inundating hospitals and leaving some small villages isolated. The storms are being caused by a warming of the surface waters in the Pacific Ocean and are expected to continue for another two weeks.
Peru’s government said that 374 people were killed in 1998 during a similar period of massive rains and flooding caused by rains blamed on the El Niño climate pattern.
The rains have overwhelmed the drainage system in the cities along Peru’s Pacific coast and the health ministry has started fumigating around the pools of water that have formed in the streets to kill mosquitoes that carry diseases like dengue.
Lima has been without water service since the beginning of the week. The government has deployed the armed forces to help police control public order in the 811 cities that have declared an emergency. (AFP/AP)