In Peru, the unusual cyclone Yaku leaves behind heavy flooding in the north and center of the country. The Lima region has been one of the most affected. A cyclone has not been seen in Peruvian territory for 40 years. One that has been produced by several factors. In the equation are the so-called “El Niño phenomenon”, which affects the temperatures of the Pacific Ocean, and the hot air winds from the south of the continent.
In some areas of northern and central Peru, the onslaught of Cyclone Yaku, which has been affecting the country for a week, is still being felt. Its effects continue to trigger alerts, despite the fact that it is moving away from the Peruvian coasts.
The rains caused a landslide in the Punta Negra resort, a town south of Lima, in the early hours of this Thursday, March 16. There, stones and mud fell from the upper part of the place onto the streets of an area that almost always remains dry.
Despite the efforts of the residents, who made a channel to contain the landslide, the water and mud managed to enter several houses, which were seriously affected.
Félix Ghalley Nyamadzi, parish priest of the Punta Negra Catholic Church assured: “We were preparing for the rain, but tonight a landslide surprised us. It started at night, at twelve or one. It is the first time that I see this in Punta Negra. It made its way to the sea.”
In an assessment of what happened, the Minister of Defense, Jorge Chávez, assured that “the situation became complicated” due to the activation of 33 streams in the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, which cross the Peruvian capital.
According to Chávez, the deployment of the Civil Defense, the military and the police, “has been able to contain any overflow in said area” and he affirmed that the disasters caused by Yaku “to date have not caused any victims to regret”.
However, the cyclone has had a serious effect on infrastructure in the Lima region, where at least 3,000 people have been reported to have lost their homes. The Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in 400 districts.
Most of the material damage to homes and infrastructure is concentrated in the districts of Cieneguilla, Chosica, Chaclacayo, Ate, San Juan de Lurigancho, Carabayllo, Ancón, Punta Hermosa and Pucusana.
Punta Hermosa, another beach resort, was one of the most affected on the Lima coast, after a mudslide that spread through several streets and ended in the Pacific Ocean.
In Cienaguilla, further east of the capital, the landslides left some 2,500 homeless. In the Río Seco sector, some 100 families lost their homes, while another 400 suffered partial damage to their homes.
Authorities in the Chosica district cleared the ravines with heavy machinery. In Chaclacayo, a neighboring district, there were vehicle jams on the Central Highway due to mud and puddles of water.
The National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru, Senamhi, reported that the places with the most rainfall were in Chosica with 14.5 mm, Ñaña with 12.5 mm, Ceres with 8.6 mm and La Molina with 5.1 mm. The heavy rain forecast for this Friday is still active.
Yaku deepens the damage of the rainy season in Peru
After its passage, Yaku has left at least seven dead in the north of the country. In addition, it has caused the closure of dozens of roads and ports, hundreds of houses have been flooded by the overflow of rivers.
The cyclone also threatens to deepen the havoc caused by the rainy season in the country. Since September it has left at least 59 dead and more than 12,000 homeless, according to Civil Defense figures on March 12.
On Sunday, off the coast of Ecuador, Yaku caused flooding that left residents using makeshift rafts to try to salvage their belongings.
“Everything started at dawn, at 4 in the morning everything had already been lost,” said one of the residents of Milagros, one of the affected areas.
Cyclones are unusual in this region of the planet. For the first time, Peru named a meteorological phenomenon of these characteristics. He named it Yaku, which in Quechua means “water.”
Experts explain that Yaku is creating havoc, especially in the north of the country. There it is “causing the rains to intensify”, as the director of Civil Defense of Peru, César Sierra, assured to the radio ‘Exitosa’.
Despite the novelty, it is not the first time that Peru has faced a phenomenon of this type. In the Latin American country “there was already a cyclone in 1982 and 1983 with El Niño and in 2017,” according to the meteorologist Raquel Loayza told ‘RPP’. The expert added: “But this time it is bigger.”
The presence of cyclones comes hand in hand with the climatic phenomenon known as “El Niño”, which causes overheating of the waters in the South American Pacific and hits the coasts of Peru and Ecuador.
In addition, the hot winds from the south of the continent, a region that is in summer, rose and accumulated in the tropics. For a cyclone to occur, the sea surface temperature has to be higher than 26 degrees Celsius. In front of Ecuador and Peru it reached 30 degrees.
With AFP and EFE