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More than 1.3 million affected by flooding and landslides in South America


Heavy rainfall unleashed by sea temperature changes has caused heavy rainfall throughout Peru, Colombia and Ecuador in the first quarter of 2016, affecting more than 1.3 million people. Although rainfall persists in some areas, it has begun to let up in other, OCHA reports.

In Peru, the number of affected people continues to rise, totaling over 1.2 million, despite the receding water levels of inland rivers. As of April 21, Piura remains the most affected area in Peru, registering 32% of the nationwide totals. The Tumbes River on the coast continues to overflow near populated areas.

More than 40 000 homes have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable and 600 000 people across the country are facing dire food security needs, OCHA warns.

Going forward, sheltered families are eager to begin restoring their livelihoods in order to recover their homes and lives as quickly as possible.

Despite damage to over 2 000 educational institutions throughout Peru, classes are restarting in rural areas.

The stagnant waters left behind by floods in Peru has led to a rise in reported cases of dengue, chikungunya, Zika and leptospirosis.

While national authorities in Colombia were still dealing with the aftermath of the March 31 Mocoa landslides that wiped out six neighborhoods, another series of landslides were triggered 600 km (372 miles) away in Manizales on April 18.

As of April 20, 70 homes have collapsed but due to the threat of further landslides, another 400 homes have been evacuated. The medical personnel of the largest healthcare center in Manizales were also the evacuated due to the damages to the building.

The local area road network suffered damages at 15 key points and repair is ongoing. Twelve schools suspended classes until April 20, pending a full evaluation of the damages sustained and number of children left without access.

Municipal authorities in Manizales have declared emergencies in several areas and are still evaluating damages and needs. Regardless, they have activated their contingency plans in preparation.

The relentless rainfall in Ecuador has slowly affected over 141 000 people throughout the entire country since the beginning of the year. The national government declared a nationwide state of emergency to provide immediate aid.

At present, 75% of the affected people and 80% of the affected homes are located within the Guayas and Manabí provinces.

The flooding and landslides have hobbled over 100 km (62 miles) of the national road network and transportation infrastructure, constantly delaying the delivery of much needed assistance.

Education also remains a priority as 89 schools have reported damages. Countless livelihoods have been placed in jeopardy as over 10 000 hectares of crops have been affected and another 5 000 hectares of crops are all but lost.

Some 1 900 people have been left without homes and over 2 300 have been evacuated.

The Manabí province in Ecuador, an already vulnerable area still recovering from the April 2016 earthquake, is among the areas with the highest reported number of affected people.

Featured image credit: Reuters

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