Disasters & Accidents

Cyclone brings flooding rains to Peruvian capital

Lima, Mar 15 (EFE).- The heavy rains accompanying Cyclone Yaku led to flooding Wednesday in seven districts of Peru’s capital, a desert city that rarely experiences significant precipitation.

Prime Minister Alberto Otarola said the government will declare a state of emergency in the beachfront district of Punta Hermosa, which suffered a massive mudslide during the overnight hours.

Cabinet ministers are “directing aid and coordinating with the local authorities” in all of the affected areas of the Lima metropolitan area, which includes the port city of Callao and is home to nearly a third of Peru’s 34 million people.

In Cieneguilla, on the eastern side of the capital, district Mayor Emilio Chavez told TVPeru that rain-driven mudslides forced some 2,500 residents from their homes.

The houses of at least 100 families were completely destroyed, he said.

The defense minister, Jorge Chavez, said that heavy machinery has been deployed to clear rocks and debris and EFE witnessed marines in armored vehicles working to make the main eastbound highway out of Lima passable “Various strategies to ensure the well-being of the population are being evaluated,” he said after visiting spots affected by mudslides, known in the indigenous Quechua language as “huaycos.”

Peru’s weather service forecasts that the intense rain will continue until Friday and authorities fear that the three rivers which traverse Lima, the Huaura, Chillon, and Rimac, will burst their banks.

Classes were canceled at schools and universities in the metro area and government employees were ordered to work remotely.

The rains from Yaku reached northern Peru days ago and are blamed for seven deaths and the destruction of hundreds of homes. EFE mmr-pbc/dr

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