Fast-moving water spilled onto streets and into homes on Thursday during intense rainstorms in Lima, Peru’s capital.
The heavy rains killed at least 12 people in Peru, the Associated Press reported. It said the water, much of it dirty, now threatens to flood the city.
Peruvian officials said on Thursday they expect the extreme weather to continue for another two weeks.
Weather experts are blaming the intense rains on the weather event called El Niño. It produces a warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
To date, the storms are reported to have killed more than 60 people and destroyed 12,000 homes across Peru this year.
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas. He said the government is prepared to provide shelter and assistance to those left homeless by the storms.
Schools nationwide have suspended classes.
In the past three days, the rains and mudslides have brought severe destruction to Peru. And, the storms have caught people in Lima by surprise. The city, where it almost never rains, is home to 10 million people.
One extreme incident happened about 50 kilometers south of downtown Lima. Shocked city residents watched and captured video on their mobile phones as a woman escaped from a mixture of mud, wood and farm animals.
Evangelina Chamorro had just left her two daughters at school when, soon after, she and her husband were pulled into a landslide. They were feeding their pigs when the landslide seized control of them.
Armando Rivera, Chamorro's husband, told a Peruvian radio station that he and his wife climbed a tree but the tree broke in two. They held on to each other's hands, but Chamorro eventually lost hold and got separated.
Then, Chamorro appeared near a bridge, lifting herself from a flood of debris and walking toward land covered head to toe in mud.
"There's a person there!" an observer cried out.
Chamorro collapsed as she reached land and was quickly carried by several men to an emergency vehicle. She suffered only minor injuries.
Last week, during heavy rainfall, more than 15 people were killed when a bus fell into a ravine in central Peru, Alliance France-Presse reported.
This week in Lima, the rising Huaycoloro River washed away two trucks and nearly destroyed a bridge.
Seven of the nation's most dangerous criminals were temporarily transported to another detention center after a river near the prison threatened to overflow.
President Kuczynski said in a statement Wednesday that Peruvians should not take unnecessary risks. He urged them to avoid flooded roads and weak bridges.
I’m Alice Bryant.
The Associated Press, Alliance France-Presse and United Press International reported on this story. Alice Bryant adapted the information for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
mudslide - n. landslide
mud - n. soft, wet earth
debris - n. the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed
ravine - n. a small, narrow valley