"I know President Bush is concerned about the flooding and we will take action to help the victims. We will provide relief assistance, conduct damage assessments and continue to work with local disaster management agencies," said Administrator Natsios.
Since January 20, heavy rains combined with melting snow have caused at least 16 rivers to overflow, leading to severe flooding in the southern departments of Puno, Cusco, Arequipa, Apurimac, Ayacucho, Madre de Dios, Ucayali, and the highlands of Ica and Huancavelica. According to the Peruvian National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI), six deaths have been reported, at least 3,500 families have been displaced by the flooding in the most affected departments of Puno and Madre de Dios, and 30,000 hectares of arable land have been lost or affected. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the main highway between the departments of Cuzco and Madre de Dios has been blocked by the flooding. Heavy rains continue to fall and Peru's national weather service forecasts more storms for the affected areas. Today four USAID experts concluded a two-day damage assessment in the Departments of Puno and Madre Dios. USAID will continue to closely monitor the situation.
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