Latin America & Caribbean

Floods and mudslides kill dozens in Peru

Media captionUnexpected heavy rain led to dangerous flooding on Lima's outskirts

At least 72 people have died in several days of floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rains in Peru, officials say.

The floods - the worst in almost 30 years - have affected over half the country. More than 800 towns and cities have declared a state of emergency.

The capital, Lima, has been without water since Monday and services are only now being restored.

The armed forces have been deployed to help police control law and order across Peru.

There are shortages of food and water in many areas and prices have risen by 5% on average in the past week, the government said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Parts of Lima were badly affected
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Peru's northern coast was worst hit by the storms

The heavy rains have stopped for now, but forecasters say the unstable weather is expected to continue for a few weeks.

Last year, Peru and other countries around the Pacific Ocean have been affected by the phenomenon known as El Nino, a rise in sea temperatures that increases evaporation and brings about heavy rains.

In 1998 floods in Peru were also linked to El Nino, which was particularly strong that year.

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