Mudslides and floods have caused devastation in parts of the Arequipa Department in Peru following heavy rainfall. Several districts in the Lima Department have also seen damaging mudslides in the past few days.
Areas of Mariano Nicolas Valcarcel District in Camaná Province of Arequipa Department are the worst affected. The National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) is providing assistance and relief supplies to affected communities in Secocha, Infiernillo, Pampa Blanca, Urasqui, Venado de Oro, Pampaylima, Miski, Posko Miski and San Martín in the district. The Peruvian army has also deployed helicopters to the region.
INDECI teams are also operating in the district of Toro in La Unión Province, where flooding and mudslides have damaged homes and roads.
In a statement requesting a declaration of emergency, the government of Arequipa said heavy rains have affected the provinces of Camaná, Caravelí, Castile, Caylloma, Condesuyos, La Unión and Arequipa in recent weeks.
Mariano Nicolas Valcarcel District
Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged in areas in the district of Mariano Nicolas Valcarcel.
Many settlements of the district are situated at the foot of steep slopes, close to the Ocoña River, which reached danger levels on 05 February. INDECI reported numerous streams also broke their banks, causing multiple flash floods and mudslides (known locally as huaico or huayco).
As of 06 February, INDECI reported 10 houses were destroyed and 60 damaged in San Martín. Fifty houses were damaged in Miski, 160 in Secocha and 40 houses were damaged in Urasqui. A health centre and 3 km of road were also damaged.
INDECI reported at least 12 people have died in floods and mudslides in Secocha. This figure is likely to rise as the situation in the district becomes clearer. Three people also died when a truck overturned in flood waters of the Ocoña River. Two people were reported missing and at least 20 people have been injured.
The regional government estimated that more than 12,000 people have been affected in the district.
Rain and Rivers in Arequipa
The Ocoña River at Ocoña was flowing above red alert levels (580 m3/s) from 05 February. Flows peaked at 746 m3/s on 06 February and have since started to fall.
In 24 hours to 05 February, the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru (SENHAMI) reported 27.4 mm of rain in Chuquibamba. In the following 24-hour period Caraveli recorded 45.7 mm; Chiguata 35.6 mm; Chuquibamba 35.2 mm; and Orcopampa 27.4 mm.
SENHAMI considers such levels of rainfall as high or extreme in this predominantly dry region of southwestern Peru.
INDECI also reported mudslides in the districts of Viñac and Catahuasi in the province of Yauyos, in Lima Department, on 05 February 2023.
Initial damage assessments reveal 60 houses severely damaged and 30 destroyed. A total of 365 people have been affected, with 265 of them left homeless. Four schools and two public buildings were also damaged, along with 5km of road and areas of farmland. No fatalities were reported.
EMERGENCIA EN SECOCHA | Un nuevo huaico se ha registrado en Secocha en la última hora. De acuerdo con el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Regional (COER), son 36 las personas fallecidas por el desastre natural. pic.twitter.com/YHxfsdynf2
— La Red de Medios Regionales del Perú (@LaRed_MRP) February 6, 2023
— Jeremy Falcón – Noticias 🌎 (@jeremyfalconf) February 6, 2023
— Tomenota (@Tomenotape) February 6, 2023
Terrible información que llega desde #Secocha, en #Camaná. Las imágenes son desgarradoras. Se informa que hasta el momento son 38 fallecidos a causa del #huaico el último domingo. #Arequipa es declarada en zona de emergencia. Siete de 8 provincias afectadas. pic.twitter.com/1ri2DAJLqN
— Edher Quintana Velarde (@Edherquintana) February 6, 2023