Seven killed by flooding in Cusco region

Seven people were killed Wednesday when heavy rainfall flooded the Quitamayo river in Pisac, a town located in the Sacred Valley in Peru’s southern Cusco department.

According to Radio Programas Peru, the people were employed by Construyendo Peru, a State-run national program which provides temporary work for the unemployed living in poverty.

The employees were cleaning the river banks when the Quitamayo – a tributary of the Vilcanota river – flooded and washed them away. The regional president of Cusco, Hugo Gonzáles, said the supervisors were negligent and the workers lacked proper protection.

The heavy rains and flooding killed eight other people on Monday in the Pisac area. Six people were killed when the Quitamayo flooded the town of Taray and two more died when their home collapsed in San Sebastian, daily El Comercio reported.

Gonzáles told CPN Radio that at least 50 people in the region have been displaced by the recent floods.

Cusco was hit by torrential rainfall in early February. The storms caused mudslides and flooded the Vilcanota river, which blocked the railway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru’s sacred Inca citadel and top tourist attraction.

Peru’s Civil Defense estimated that about 23,500 people had been left homeless and more than 37,000 people lost part of their property. Flooding devastated 14,000 hectares of agricultural land and destroyed 4,000 homes.

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