State of Alert declared in Southern and Central Peru

Intense rain which began Sunday February 3rd in the south-west of Peru has extended toward the central and northern regions or Peru causing rivers to overflow and landslides in several departments. A young mother and her 8-month-old baby were killed outside the capital city of Lima.
Two World Vision projects have been affected.

World Vision emergency teams and community volunteers carried out preliminary assessments in the projects and reported that the most urgent needs are clothing, mattresses, blankets and kitchen utensils for 50 families. World Vision has already delivered 215 kits of clothing and is considering further action.

According to the National Civil Defense, the most affected departments in Peru are Tumbes, Cajamarca, Lima, Junin, Huanuco and Cusco. Preliminary official reports estimate that 2,200 families have been affected, 64 houses destroyed and a further 1,198 damaged throughout the country. The weather has also affected 210 hectares of farmland and obstructed several roads. Electricity and water services have been partially suspended as a precaution.

The risks of a catastrophe in the poor urban and rural areas are increasing each day as the houses are built with feeble materials making them vulnerable to the fury of the incessant rain. Other risks include the spread of infectious illnesses such as dengue or malaria epidemics.

Even though the National Service of Meteorology said that is too early to assume another El Niño phenomena, the authorities and the population fear the worst. In 1998, the natural phenomena ended with 200 deaths and millions of dollars in damages.

President Toledo has declared a state of alert in the southern and central regions of Peru.