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Peru: Rains Overflow Rivers and Flood Loreto

The rain in Peru has not stopped. Due to the heavy rains during the months of February and March [es] in much of the highlands [es] and Peruvian jungle, now there are floods in the lower parts of Peru, mainly in the regions of Loreto and Ucayali. Several weeks ago, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (Senamhi) of Loreto gave warnings [es] of the high levels that the Huallaga, Ucayali, Marañón and Amazon rivers had reached.

And although some authorities had taken [es] measures, it wasn't regarding the expectations of flooding. The Regional President of Loreto only requested [es] a state of emergency when the list of injured persons had reached 40,000. The central government finally declared [es] a state of emergency when the number of people affected rose to 100,000.

The floods have affected [es] the normal development of classes in schools situated in the lower zones of the region. Classrooms have had to be improvised and now take place in local neighbourhoods and residences where the students arrive to class in small boats known as peque-peque. This is shown in the following photo which was shared by Twitter user @PacoBardales [es], and which belongs [es] to reporter David Gonzales. The photograph was taken at the school N·601536, in the country house Nuevo Campeon, Itaya river, Belén.

Fuerte: Así están estudiando los niños en Belén-Iquitos luego de las graves inundaciones http://twitpic.com/931bx2 8:13 AM – 30 Mar 12 via TweetDeck

Strong image: Children in Belen-Iquitos studying during serious flooding in Peru
Colegio inundado, Belén, Iquitos, Perú

Flooded school, Belén, Iquitos, Peru

More recent figures have shown [es] that those affected by the floods are somewhere around 200,000 in the Loreto region alone. These figures aren't surprising, given the level that the Amazon river has reached [es] in the last few days, causing many regions of Iquitos to be flooded. The height of the rivers has even surpassed its last record of 118,59 metres above sea level in the year 1986. Such areas are visible as in this photograph, shared by Twitter user Sebastián Faura (@SebastianFaura) [es]:

es necesario declarar el estado de emergencia en la ciudad de Iquitos. http://pic.twitter.com/DNtmALue 10:04 AM – 2 Apr 12 via web

it is necessary to declare a state of emergency in the city of Iquitos.
Iquitos inundado

Iquitos flooded

On the Civil Defense page [es] on Facebook, several pictures of the floods have also been shared. The Diario de IQT blog [es] also shares pictures, while Paco Bardales comments:

En Iquitos han sido los ríos Itaya y Nanay quienes más han generado embates contra las riberas. Las zonas más afectadas han sido las comunidades rurales del distrito de Belén, el barrio, Prolongación Putumayo, Bellavista-Nanay, Av. La Marina, Bellavista-Nanay. Además, se han colocado carpas en primera cuadra de Ricardo Palma para atender a los afectados en Puerto Salaverry, debajo del Boulevard de la ciudad.

In Iquitos, the Itaya and Nanay rivers have been beating against the shores. The more affected regions have been the rural community districts of Belén, Prolongación Putumayo, Bellavista-Nanay, Av. La Marina, Bellavista-Nanay. People from these regions have been putting up tents in the first block of Ricardo Palma in order to assist the injured in Puerto Salaverry, underneath the city's Boulevard.
Barrio de Iquitos inundado (Foto Revista CETA)

Flooded neighborhood in Iquitos (Photo: Revista CETA)

Reporter and blogger Ramiro Celis from Loreto writes [es] in his blog Iquitos News about the inefficiency as well as the indifference of the local authorities in Iquitos with regards to preventing these states of emergency that have had to happen over the years:

En época de vaciante caminar por Belén zona baja es una experiencia única. Las casas son de madera y tienen techo de palma. Se ubican a unos metros de la superficie y no gozan de servicios básicos como agua o energía eléctrica de calidad, ya que las conexiones son por pequeños tubos que suben hasta las casas y la electricidad es abastecida por cables que parecen telarañas. […] Aunque su existencia data del siglo pasado, ningún alcalde belenino ha hecho un plan o un proyecto de modernización de esta zona en la que se incluya la construcción de viviendas dignas e incorporación de servicios básicos.

Punchana e Iquitos son los distritos más afectados cuando crecen los ríos y definitivamente se debe pensar o elaborar un proyecto que evite el gasto excesivo de recursos en apoyo a los ciudadanos afectados, ya que, ciertamente, existen alternativas de solución a estos problemas. […] Aunque en algunas jurisdicciones, como en el caso de Punchana, el alcalde manifestó que no era su problema si aquellas personas habían optado por vivir en las zonas periféricas, siendo duramente criticado por los medios y la población en general.

To walk in the lowland area of Belén during the dry season is a unique experience. The houses are made of wood and have roofs of palm leaves. They meet several metres from the surface and the people do not enjoy the basic necessities such as running water or quality electricity. The electrical connections are by small tubes that go up into the houses where the electricity is supplied by cables that resemble spider webs. […] Although its existence has been outdated since the last century, no mayor of Belen has ever made a plan or project of modernization for this region in terms of the construction of decent houses or the need for basic services.

Punchana and Iquitos are the most affected regions when the rivers overflow. Therefore, one must think of a project that, for once and for all, evades the excessive expenditure of resources in support of affected citizens. Certainly, there must exist a solution to these problems. […] However in several jurisdictions such as Punchana, the mayor is being harshly criticized by the media and the population in general for declaring that it isn't his problem if some people have chosen to live in peripheral regions.

While the level of the Amazon River threatens [es] to keep growing, in Iquitos the population is suffering from power outages [es]. Cutting the electricity was a precaution measure in order to avoid possible short circuits that could be caused by the flooding. In addition, some people are becoming alarmed by the the appearance [es] of strange aquatic animals, while others have had to be relocated and are now complaining [es] that they are so far away that they have been forgotten by authorities.

A TV program in Iquitos sent out this information regarding the floods [es]:

Finally, the following video shows various shots taken in the flooded city if Iquitos [es]:

Originally published in the personal blog of Juan Arellano.

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