Department of Loreto urges central government to declare state of emergency due to severe flooding

More than 7,890 families in Peru’s jungle department of Loreto have been affected by heavy rains and flooding, causing local authorities to urge the central government to declare a state of emergency.

“A state of emergency would facilitate the purchase of materials, and we would get additional help from the government,” Regional Civil Defense Secretary, Robert Falcón was quoting saying in daily Peru.21.

Two weeks ago, the Amazon River, South America’s largest, reached its highest level since Peru’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Institute, or Senamhi, began keeping records near its source.

So far, since this year’s rainy season began, 1,445 families have lost their homes, and eight people have died, including three children who drowned after they fell off a makeshift bridge built by a neighbor and designed to facilitate passage from one home to another.

“In many towns, the water has risen up to the windows and is endangering people’s lives, especially the younger ones,” said Punchana mayor, Joiner Vásquez Pinedo. “But people don’t want to evacuate because they don’t want to part with the few things they do own.”

The heaviest rains in Peru’s Amazon region usually occur from November to May, with showers almost every day lasting several hours, often causing floods in low areas. At higher altitudes in the Andean sierra, rain is typically prevelant from November to March. At this time, travel becomes much harder: roads are often impassable, flights are frequently cancelled or delayed due to poor conditions, and landslides affect trains and bus routes.

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