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Monday 19 March 2018

Floods and mudslides in Peru leave a dozen people dead

A flooded street in Lima, after further heavy rain across Peru (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
A flooded street in Lima, after further heavy rain across Peru (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Muddy water spilled onto streets and into homes in a new round of unusually heavy rains that has killed at least a dozen people in Peru and now threatens flooding in the capital.

The intense rains and mudslides over the past three days have wrought havoc around the Andean nation.

They caught people in Lima, a desert city of 10 million where it almost never rains, by surprise.

In one of the more dramatic incidents, stunned residents watched as a woman escaped after being swept into an avalanche of mud, wood debris and farm animals about 32 miles south of Lima.

Evangelina Chamorro, 32, had just dropped her two daughters at school and was feeding her pigs alongside her husband when they were pulled into a landslide.

Armando Rivera, her husband, told RPP radio they climbed a tree but the trunk broke. They held on to each other's hands but she eventually lost his grip and got separated.

She emerged near a bridge, lifting herself from a current of wooden planks and walking towards the shore covered head to toe in mud.

An onlooker shouted: "There's a person there!"

Ms Chamorro collapsed as she reached land and was quickly carried by several men to an ambulance. She suffered only minor injuries.

The a uthorities said on Thursday they expect the rains caused by El Nino, which generates a warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, to continue for another two weeks.

So far, officials say a total of 62 people have died and 12,000 homes have been destroyed in storms this year.

In Lima, the swelling Huaycoloro river swept away two trucks and threatened to destroy a bridge, while schools nationwide have suspended classes.

And seven of the nation's most dangerous criminals were temporarily transported to another facility after a river near the prison threatened to overflow.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has said that the authorities are prepared to provide shelter and relief to those left homeless.


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