ACT Peru 1/2003: Heavy rainfall

Geneva, January 30, 2003 - ACT member Lutheran World Relief (Peru) reports that since the beginning of January 2003, the Peruvian regions of Puno (Lake Titicaca) and Madre de Dios (the rainforest and border with Bolivia and Brazil) have suffered extremely heavy rainfalls. The level of Lake Titicaca is now at 3,810.2 meters above sea level and is increasing daily by 2 cm.
A two-month state of emergency for the regions was declared by the government on January 28 in order to attend to the needs of those affected by the extreme weather conditions.

The areas most affected in Puno are Huancané, Putina, Azángaro, Asillo and San Anton. Seven people are reported to have lost their lives. Reports also indicate that 7, 7000 families have been affected, that 700 rural adobe houses have been destroyed, that 2,373 houses have been damaged and that 30,000 hectares of arable land has been damaged. 680 hectares of crops have also been destroyed and 7,000 cattle lost. 44 schools and 1 health center have been damaged, while 7 bridges have collapsed and 5 km of roads destroyed.

In Madre de Dios rainfall and flooded rivers have damaged the houses of 1,850 families in 25 villages. In total, 1,200 people have been affected and 4,000 hectares of arable land destroyed. The districts that have been worst affected are: Madre de Dios, Lagarto, Boca Amigo, Boca Colorado, Huaypetue, Laberinto, Tambopata, Puerto Viejo and Choque.

The Peruvian Government is responding to the populations' needs through the Regional Emergency Operation Center (COER). In Puno, the National Civil Defense (INDECI), has provided 95 tons of food and material aid consistent of cold food, tents, clothes, woolen covers, cooking materials, beds, bed covers, tools, plastic, rubber boots and medicines to 2,362 affected families. Temporary shelters have also been provided. PRONAA (the government food program) has provided 54,6 tons of food.

In Madre de Dios, INDECI provided 18 tons of cloths, covers, beds, tents and food. ACT-Peru is assessing the needs of the population in order to follow-up on the emergency situation. (LWR-ARO heads up the coordination of ACT-Peru for 2003.)

Although rainfall has slowed down during the last 24 hours, SENAMHI (the Peruvian Weather Service) foresees heavy rainfall for the end of January and the beginning of February. The rainy season has only just started in the Peruvian Highlands and can last until the end of March to mid-April.

Thank you for your attention.

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