DISCUSSION: Throughout the past few decades, rapid and unusual warming of Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Peru has been known to unleash deadly downpours on the country. This year was no exception. A local El Niño phenomenon has produced record rainfall and dangerous landslides in March. Deemed to Peruvians as the worst series of floods in living memory, the destruction has amounted to approximately $3.1 billion, as of April 13, 2017.
According to Peru’s emergency operations center, more than 100 people have lost their lives, 158,000 have been displaced, and 210,000 homes have been destroyed. The country’s infrastructure has taken a major hit as well; nearly 3000 kilometers (1864 miles) of roads are unusable and 260 bridges have collapsed, cutting off entire towns and villages.
At the start of the year, the nation was preparing for a drought. Yet this year during its rainy season, Peru received ten times the amount of rain than normal. The floodwater was able to run off the arid land, triggering landslides in flood-prone areas. Known as the “landslide season,” Peru’s rainy season falls mainly in the first quarter of every year. Now many Peruvians will spend the remainder of their lives rebuilding from the nation’s natural destruction.
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©2017 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri