Peru braces for more heavy rains

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Lima, March 17 (IANS) Peru is bracing for more heavy rains that is likely to continue until April, officials said. Flooding has claimed 62 lives.

Some 750 towns in 13 regions have been declared to be in a state of emergency, Xinhua news agency reported.

“There is a lot of damage but we can overcome them,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Thursday as he toured an affected community in Lima near the Huaycoloro river which overflowed.

The weather phenomenon called Coastal Nino is blamed for the heavy downpour.

Coastal Nino is marked by high sea temperatures, which have gone from an average of 22 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius, according to the officials.

The National Civil Defence Institute said the rains and flooding have damaged 18,262 km of roads, washed away six bridges, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed several thousand hectares of crops.

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Government estimates put financial losses at between $150 million and $600 million. Both Venezuela and Colombia have offered aid.

–IANS

ksk/mr

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