“He took my whole house”: the story of those affected by the heavy rains in Peru | news today

Residents try to get water from their houses and premises flooded by Cyclone Yaku, in the Chaclacayo district of Lima (Peru).

Residents try to get water from their houses and premises flooded by Cyclone Yaku, in the Chaclacayo district of Lima (Peru).

Photo: EFE – Paula Bayarte

One avalanche after another destroyed the home of Elvis Palomino. In the rain, his neighbors barricade themselves with sandbags to avoid the same fate. The raging waters of the “talking river” are plunging Chaclacayo, east of Lima, into ruin.

“He took my whole house, he has left me with nothing,” said Palomino, a 58-year-old public security guard with four children, who can barely contain his tears in front of the only two walls left standing after the mudslides. and stone, known as huaicos, which punished districts of the Peruvian capital on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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The Rímac, a Quechua expression that means “talking river”, devastated three more houses. When its waters rise, it seems that it screams to draw attention to the damage to nature, the residents comment.

Still incredulous, Palomino reviews his losses: “It’s not easy to accept this reality because no one expects this and I don’t wish it on anyone. I don’t have a bed, I don’t have a radio, all my stuff has been taken”.

“Only with the clothes they see (me) wearing, that’s what I’m left with,” he told AFP. The rainy season that began in January and could last until April leaves 50 dead and around 8,000 homeless throughout the country, according to relief agencies.

Unusually intense, the downpours have overflowed rivers and caused landslides in the Peruvian Andes.

– No light or power –

The rains hardly let up in Chaclacayo, a district located on the outskirts of the Peruvian capital, 30 kilometers to the east.

The landslides flooded several kilometers of the Central highway, which leads to the Andes and the central jungle of the country. Hundreds of cargo and passenger vehicles were stranded.

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Some got out of the vehicles barefoot to cross the road. Meanwhile, families try to protect their homes with sandbags. Barricades stretch throughout this Peruvian district.

“The most worrying thing is that we are without water and electricity (electricity) due to the mudslides that are falling two days in a row,” says Ray La Rosa, a 40-year-old resident of the area, after reinforcing the front of his house with two bundles of sand.

When the rains subside, Charo Matos, 56, with bucket in hand, draws up the stagnant water in front of her house where she runs a small grocery store.

“I had to ask for help so that they help (me) place the sandbags,” says the woman, still “scared” by the rise of the Rímac. The authorities set up a camp with 15 canvas tents to receive the families evacuated from the banks.

The National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru (Senamhi) warned that until Friday, March 17, moderate to extreme intensity rains are expected on the coast and in the mountains.

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The level of seasonal rainfall was shot up by Cyclone Yaku (water in Quechua) off the Peruvian coast, according to authorities.

Experts believe that this type of event is associated with the El Niño climate phenomenon, which causes overheating of the waters in the South American Pacific, hitting the coasts of Peru and Ecuador mainly, with rains and floods.

Given the imminence of the event, the authorities declared a state of emergency for the surveillance system in anticipation of avalanches and other disasters.

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