Peru Flooding (March 2017)

Prolonged and intense rainfall since early March has caused widespread severe flash and river flooding, landslides and mud flows across Peru, including in the capital city Lima (pop. ~8.5mn). At least 119,000 buildings have been severely damaged, with 18,000 buildings collapsed or destroyed, according to the National Civil Defence Institute (INDECI) and local media . At least 930 schools and around 340 health centres are reported to have collapsed or sustained significant damage. Damage has been reported in 24 of Peru’s 25 regions. At this time, the worst affected regions appear to be Lima, Piura, Lambayeque, Ica, Arequipa and Loreto. Parts of the capital city Lima have been affected, with flooding reported in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, although there are no estimates of the number of buildings impacted. Large parts of the city have been without water since Monday March 13, with some electricity and communication services restored in the past two days. In northern Peru, several rivers burst their banks, flooding at least 12,000 buildings in the city of Piura (pop. ~380,000). The Rimac, Huaycoloro and Huaicos Rivers in Lima Porvince overflowed their banks affecting the Chaclacayo, Lurigancho-Chosica, El Augistino and Punta Hermosa districts. The Supe River overflowed in Ambar district, inundating large parts of the district. According to the INDECI, around 775 mi (1,245 km) of roads and highways have been destroyed, with at least 132 bridges severely damaged or destroyed. The damage to infrastructure is significantly impacting relief efforts in the country. At least 570,000 people have been affected by the flooding, with at least 75,000 people severely impacted or displaced. Approximately 10,000 people have been affected in Lima (pop. ~8.5mn). Around 40,000 acres (16,000 ha) of crops have been affected, with approximately 17,000 acres (7,000 ha) destroyed . President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has declared a state of emergency in over 800 cities in 176 districts across 12 regions due to rainfall and flood impacts, or due to the imminent danger from flash and river flooding. A Sanitary Emergency due to the risks posed from stagnating water has been declared in 7 regions . According to local authorities, there is a risk of a rise in diseases in the urban suburbs and rural areas of Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque and La Libertad Departments. The presidents of Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela have offered to send help to the country. According to officials, at least 75 fatalities have been attributed to the severe weather. Peru Insurance Market. Peru has a low level of insurance penetration, particularly compared to almost all of its neighbors. According to local sources, the low penetration is partly due to an undeveloped risk management and insurance culture, and the strength of the informal market sector. Flood is usually a minor peril for insurers in Peru, though serious flood events can occur from time to time, particularly during El Niño phases of ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation). Meteorological and Hydrological Conditions and Forecast. According to the national meteorological agency, rainfall accumulations exceeding 2 in (50 mm) daily have been recorded for several weeks. Maximum 24-hour rainfall accumulations of 3.7 in (94.8 mm) were recorded in Lambayeque, Jayanca on Tuesday March 14. The intense rainfall has broken numerous rainfall and river records in several districts . According to Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Nacional (COEN), 10 rivers in the country remain above flood level. In Lima, 8 rivers remain at or above flood level, though local media reports that the river levels are beginning to ease . The heavy and intense rainfall has been attributed to anomalously warm sea surface temperatures of up to 29°C (84°F) along the tropical Pacific coastline of South America, a phenomenon known as ‘Coastal El Niño’. According to Peru’s El Niño committee, Coastal El Niños in Peru often precede the development of an El Niño phase of the ENSO in the equatorial central Pacific. El Niño phases of ENSO typically lead to increased rainfall and flooding in South America, particularly in Peru and Colombia . At this time, ENSO is officially in neutral conditions. Persistent heavy rain is forecast to continue for the coming weeks, with further widespread flash and river flooding, landslides and mud flows expected across Peru.

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March 2017


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