In fact, the Washington Post is describing the current weather conditions along coastal Peru as “the worst flooding in 20 years.” According to the Associated Press, 72 people have died so far as of Saturday.
Peru’s main tourism entity, Exports and Tourism Promotion Board of Peru (PROMPERU), has released a statement in which they reported affected areas in the northern region and most unaffected tourism regions in the southern part of the country.
“The northern region, which includes the tourist destinations of the Moche Route (La Libertad and Lambayeque), the beaches of Piura and Tumbes and the region of Ancash are, indeed, affected by the rains,” according to the statement. “The Government has been working with the population to assist the victims, repair roads and prevent future incidents.”
Tourism destinations in the south, however, including Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and Madre de Dios, have not been affected, according to PROMPERU.
“The tourist activity in these regions are developing as usual with hotels, tourist services, airports and access to tourist attractions,” according to the statement.
According to Business Insider, intense rains and mudslides took the residents of Lima by surprise, especially considering it is a desert city of 10 million where it almost never rains.
Although PROMPERU addresses the phenomenon as “El Nino Costero,” it should be noted that many meteorologists are still shying away from calling this an El Nino. The Washington Post reports the NOAA as saying that the ocean is still in a neutral condition, but forecast models used by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology suggest that an El Nino might arrive as early as April.
According to the Business Insider report, the weather conditions have causes flash floods through city streets and across dry floodplains where people had built makeshift homes.
Business Insider also reports that about half of Peru has been placed under a state of emergency to allow aid to get to the hardest-hit areas first. The report also says that some small villages on Peru’s northern coast have been completely isolated by the deluge.