Already since the beginning of this year Peru is heavily affected by extreme weather conditions. Excessive rainfalls in areas were usually little or no rain occurs have caused flooding and destruction across the country for weeks.
But now the torrential rains of the last few days resulted in a natural disaster never seen before in Peru. Especially the northern and central Peruvian coastal strip, actually in large parts a desert area, are struggling with extreme floods, huaicos and mudslides.
Over 70 people have died only in the last days, countless are still missing, about 70,000 lost their homes, many more their belongings; the Peruvian government announced that more or less 600,000 citizens are affected by the floods – by the way the worst in over 20 years, but as about half of the Peruvian capital Lima with its 10 million inhabitants fights with flooding and mudslides as well this number may easily be doubled or tripled.
Parts of Peru are cut off from the outside world, numerous hospitals and schools are damaged or destroyed and many roads and bridges suffered damages or were swept away. Affected are as well Peru’s main traffic arteries such as the Pan American Highway that crosses Peru from north to south and the Carretera Central that connects the Peruvian provinces with Lima and the coastal areas. Additionally, countless hectares of agricultural land drowned in the floods.
There are food and water shortages especially along the Peruvian coast, prices have risen, lootings occur; people are desperate and it’s difficult to get humanitarian aid to the affected areas.
The situation is so severe that 11 regions including Lima, Arequipa, Ancash, Cajamarca, Huancavelica, Ica, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Loreto, Piura and Tumbes, and over 800 cities and towns have declared a state of emergency. 7 regions even declared a health emergency.
The armed forces have been deployed to assists police in establishing law and order across Peru and help with rescue efforts.
While especially in the outer district of Lima, citizens have to fight the impact of the flash floods, mudslides and flooding, over days large parts of the Peruvian capital were without electricity and running water. Service is only now slowly being restored.
But the situation across the country is still extremely tense. And to make things worse, the Peruvian meteorological institute Senamhi already announced more rain in the coming days.
Donations for flood victims in Peru
Over the last few days the Peruvian government started to get humanitarian aid from Lima by air and ship to the most affected areas in northern Peru. Additionally until now Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico donated not only tons of food, water, medicines and other necessities, but also supports Peru with search and rescue operations.
Public and private initiatives in Lima ask for donations of money and goods and volunteers. Especially in the better off district donations are collected in parks, schools and even shops.