Peruvian floods: 3 months on
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From the end of last year to the beginning of this one, South America was affected by devastating floods. The floods have hit Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru, with hundreds of people dead or missing. Peru, which is always under threat from earthquakes and tremors due to its proximity to the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates, began experiencing huge rain fall in January. These heavy rains caused massive flooding, with rivers bursting, damaging infrastructure throughout the nation. 115,000 homes were demolished, making 178,000 homeless. The most recent death toll says the Peruvian floods took the lives of 113 people, 1,500 miles of road have been destroyed and 3,000,000 people are at risk of waterborne diseases according to the United Nations. Ariana Kate Castro Torres, pictured, a 19-year-old student at Escuela Nacional Superior de Arte Dramatico (English: National Superior School of Dramatic Art) was born and raised in Lima. Her home was away from the flooding, but she was involved in aid efforts after the flooding. Ariana believes people expected some amount of flooding, but not in such a large scale: “I think we all subconsciously expected the floods because of the rainy days we had, but we never though it would be this bad, because in previous years, Peru wasn’t that badly affected. But this time, the rain was worse than before.” It was on the 16th March, when Ariana was picking up a present from a friend, that she met up with her mother. They went on a walk around Plaza de Armas, a square in Lima’s historic centre, hosting several important national and local government buildings as well as religious centres. It was on that day that a small village, Barbablanca, situated just inland, halfway down the nation’s west coast, was destroyed due to mudslides. Luckily all 160 residents were successfully evacuated. Ariana tells me, “We started seeing people taking pictures near the river (The Rimac River, which flows through Lima and the port of Callao) and they all looked worried. Before that, my mum was telling me “the sky looks scary today”. “The police were there to avoid people going near the river as the bridge was about to collapse.” The collapse of bridges such as Puente de Piedra caused the floods and mudslides, resulting in the closures of all roads leading out of Lima and clogging the filters of the Sedapal water company, leaving much of city without clean water. The start of term for Ariana’s course was delayed for a week as Peru was gripped in a state of emergency. “I’m not going to lie, I was scared because I hadn’t seen anything like that before," she says. "The floods affected all of Peru, so I felt sad for the people in these difficult situations, like old people, children and pregnant women.” Many families lost everything and according to Ariana, “everyone was worried because the rain wouldn’t stop”.
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