Some small villages are entirely isolated. Peruvian Prime Minister Fernando Zavala updated the fatality numbers on Saturday morning. The number of people killed has climbed to at least 72. More than 70,000 have become homeless. President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski says Peru’s coastal region hasn’t seen such environmental calamity since 1998, when 374 people were killed. The recent rains overwhelmed the drainage system in the cities along Peru’s Pacific coast. Lima has been without water service since the beginning of the week. 811 cities that have declared an emergency.
The highly unusual rains are being caused by a warming of the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, a local El Nino phenomenon. The worst thing: they are expected to continue for another two weeks. About half of Peru has been declared in emergency. “There’s no electricity, no drinking water…no transit because streets are flooded,” said Valentin Fernandez, mayor of the town Nuevo Chimbote. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” declared Jorge Chavez, a general tasked with coordinating the government’s response.