Although a bit embarrassing to admit, but this year was the first time that I had heard of the great floods that happen every year in Peru. The images and videos are unbelievable and prove that Peru was definitely not ready for the intensity of the flooding that hit, but also proves the resilience and strength the Peruvian people have.
Throughout the first couple of months of every year rain clouds roll into Peru and pour into the once dry rivers. This year the torrential downpour was much more than expected and led to what is commonly referred to as huaycos, also known as landslides in the native language of Quechua.
It has been reported that more than 100 people have died and over 210,000 homes have been damaged, displacing over 158,000 people since the flooding began in March. The infrastructure in the Northern part of the country, where the flood had the most impact, was already feeble. The floods have collapsed 260 bridges and turned about 3,000 km of road into muddy tracks that are now inoperative.
Although the reconstruction of the damages will cost about $9 billion dollars, the Peruvian government has perceived the event as a wakeup call and opportunity for the future growth of the country. The Minister of Defense, Jorge Nieto, advised that Peru has learned a tough lesson that has birthed the opportunity to rebuild a large part of the country and re-strategize the use of water resources. The floods are a yearly happening, instead of allowing them to cause damage, Peru will work to turn this annual event into a fluid water supply.
Being fortunate enough to live in a city with some of the best water in the US, when I heard stories from my aunt that they had to salvage water tanks in the city in order to send some water to the more affected areas, I was shocked. Not only by the intensity of the situation, (being used to taking long showers whenever I visit because of the summer heat) but also, by the communal spirit demonstrated by the Peruvian community.
To find out more about how to help those affected by the Peruvian flooding check out:
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