Peru’s devastating floods cause US$3 billion in damage

Saturday, March 25, 2017

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LIMA, Peru (Xinhua) — Devastating floods have caused upwards of US$3.1 billion in damage in Peru, according to a study released on Friday.

That figure represents 1.6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, the daily El Comercio said on its website, citing the study by the Macroconsult consulting firm.

The Government, which has yet to release its estimate of the economic losses, projects economic growth of over four per cent for the year.

Heavy rains, flooding and mudslides unleashed by the so-called coastal El Nino phenomenon, sparked by unusually high sea temperatures, have, since December, claimed 85 lives, injured another 270, and left 20 people missing, while some 800,000 people have been left homeless.

According to Macroconsult, which said it based its report on information from the National Civil Defense Institute, damage to infrastructure has been extensive, with 153,329 homes destroyed or impaired, 7,500 kilometres of roadway and 509 vehicle bridges or footbridges washed away or collapsed, and 1,250 schools and hundreds of health care centres affected.

The damage to roads alone amounts to US$1.259 billion, followed by US$1.123 billion in losses from damage to homes.

The east-central part of the country, where the capital Lima is situated, bore the brunt of the damage (US$574 million), followed by Lambayeque (US$435 million) and Piura (US$387 million), both in the west.

The surface temperature of Peru’s Pacific Ocean has reached 29 degrees Celsius, some seven degrees higher than the seasonal average.

On Friday, the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) announced that it has provided a loan of US$300 million to Peru to deal with the damage caused by El Nino.

"US$300 million is available to face natural disasters and we have told the president that this could be easily handed over, with 50 per cent through a rapid payment," CAF’s representative in Peru, Eleonora Silva said, after the CAF President Enrique Garcia met with Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Silva also said the CAF has offered technical cooperation to face adverse climate conditions.

Aid has been pouring into Peru after the El Nino phenomenon endangered the country with torrential rain and sparked landslides. Latin American countries, as well as China, the US and Europe, have sent aid to help the needs of vulnerable populations, especially in the 11 regions hit by the atypical weather event.

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