Q24N (AFP) Authorities in Peru have confirmed during the weekend that at least 59 people had died, 57 others had been injured, some 12,200 had been affected in another way and 8 were still missing in 24 of the country’s 25 regions in the aftermath of the rainy season between Sept. 2022 and March 12.
“Since the beginning of the rainy season until March 12, we have 12,200 victims, 59 dead, 57 injured, and 8 missing,” said Carlos Yáñez, head of the National Institute of Civil Defense (Indeci). He also reported “1,326 houses destroyed and 3,173 [left]uninhabitable.” Two children are among the dead, it was also explained.
Floods and strong winds increased in the last 72 hours and affected urban and rural areas in the coastal departments of Ancash, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura, and Tumbes, on the border with Ecuador, the authorities also said. The level of seasonal rainfall was triggered by the presence of an “unorganized cyclone” off the Peruvian coast, in Pacific Ocean waters.
According to the Civil Defense, ”cyclone Yaku (water in Quechua) is a very unusual phenomenon, causing rains to intensify in the north.“
”Cyclone Yaku is in front of the Lambayeque and La Libertad region and is causing the increase of humidity to the northern part of the country, which produces these intense rains in the north and center,” explained Yáñez.
The displacement of the cyclone, which is about 500 kilometers from the Peruvian coast according to the Peruvian Meteorological Service (Senahmi), activated an alert for heavy rains in Lima, where rainfall is rare.
President Dina Boluarte reported that “400 districts in the country have been declared in a state of emergency due to the impact generated by cyclone Yaku in the country.”
Senahmi clarified that this is not the first time that “an unorganized cyclone, different from tropical cyclones” appears off the Peruvian coast. The presence of this type of cyclone is associated with the El Niño weather phenomenon.
“In Peru, there was already a cyclone in 1982 and 1983 with El Niño and in 2017, but this time it is bigger,” meteorologist Raquel Loayza told RPP radio on Friday. “This cyclone weakens as the waters cool and it gets closer to the coast,” she added. El Niño is a climatic phenomenon that causes the overheating of waters in the South American Pacific, hitting the coasts of Peru and Ecuador mainly with rains and floods.