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Commodity Intelligence Report
March 27, 2012

Peru Rains Affecting over 80 Percent of the Country

Rains on March 10-11 and 13, 2012 hammered southern Peru and northern Chile—regions that have already had heavy rains earlier in February. Many rivers are swollen, homes flooded, bridges down and the rail line between the two countries has been blocked due to mudslides. Area farms are water-logged and will take time to dry out. Peruvian meteorologists suggest that the country is experiencing one of its wettest summers on record. Major flooding in 22 provinces across Peru has affected thousands of hectares of cropland. A state of emergency has been declared with at least 15 people dead (29 injured); 5,550 homeless; and, 49,140 people affected in total. Over 80 percent of the national territory has been affected. Seven departments have even declared a state of emergency due to flooding. With disrupted roads limiting access to many regions and rain showers limiting helicopter evacuations and assessment, an evaluation of cropland damage is not yet available.

The Piura region on the northern coast has been affected by flooding from both the rain as well as floodgates on dams having to be open due to the problems with the flooding. The water has destroyed at least 40 percent of the banana crop. Banana plantations in the region received about 30 years of rain in less than two days. Many of the larger trees have toppled over in the plantations and several fields still cannot be entered for harvest. Growers will not be able to harvest in a timely manner, thus even where trees still remain standing, yields are expected to be low.

Figure 1. Much of Peru has had heavy rains that have created flooding and wide-spread damage.

Due to damaged roads and recent rains, total cropland damage is not yet tallied across Peru.

The Peruvian regions of Ancash, Cuzco, Huanuco, and Pasco have had thousands of people affected by the flooding, mudslides and highway/rail blockages. Over 50 towns within the Ancash region, located on the Huaylas and Conchucos routes, are not able to communicate with others due to several mudslides that buried roads. In the region of Huanuco, the overflowing Pachitea River has stranded 550 people in the Yuyapichis district (province of Puerto Inca) due to flooding of over 110 homes and the destroying a number of crop fields--not yet estimated due to the difficulty in moving between assessment sites.

In the region of Pasco, over 65 communities remain under water that is slow to ebb out of the area due to the continuing overflow of the Pichis River within the districts of Puerto Bermudez and Ciudad Constitucion. The intense rains this last weekend even prevented helicopter operation with humanitarian aid--forcing the emergency management office to send 25 tons of food, clothing and construction materials by land, where roads were passable.

In the region of Pasco, more than 5,000 people are affected by the torrential rains. Many other areas in southern Peru were affected such as around the district of Río Negro in the province of Satipo where heavy rains prompted help from the civil defense in Peru. Constant heavy rain knocked out bridges and city systems recently in Arequipa in the distict of Tiabaya and Uchumayo, west of Lake Titicaca and just in from the coast in Peru, requiring emergency operations for the area.
On February 26, 2012, an intense flood hit the region around San Jeronimo, Peru. The day before, the Mantaro River bust its banks taking out homes of over 60 families. With continued rains, the water did not subside for several days.

Figure 2. Rains before the recent events were very heavy along the coastal regions. Heavy rains on the border of Junín and Cusco also flooded land during February and into the first week of March 2012.

Between February 19 and 26, rains around Juliaca, Peru killed at least three people and scattered hundreds more as floodwaters forced evacuations. Around the Lluta River, which drains into Lake Titicaca, the towns of Juliaca and Puno were evacuated. Within this region, over 245 hectares of crops were destroyed. Many towns within this region’s 22 provinces had transportation routes cut off due to the flooding. The government provided over 92 tons of emergency aid to the region.
In the Ucayali region, near Curimana, people were forced to evacuate, only a few were lucky enough to load a boat or raft with a few belongings. Over 2,000 families were affected during this two-week period of rains.

Rains that started on February 16, 2012 had many local residents evacuated from near the town of Iñapari to higher ground when water levels began to increase by four inches an hour within homes. Most were taken to Colonia, the highest point in the district.
On February 7, 2012 torrential rains caused many rivers to overflow their banks and flood many towns along the Andean Ridge. Some flood waters have overwhelmed flood gates. The showers came in from the south of the mountain range from the Puno, Cusco, Madre de Díos and highland areas of Tacna but the rain fell on the western slopes—increasing the flow of coastal rivers and the rivers near the mountains causing landslides.

From November 2011 through to February 7, 2012, almost 5,000 people (14 killed) were affected by the rains and destruction has occurred to homes, bridges and many hectares of valuable cropland. Around the department of Arequipa, the rainfall even interrupted traffic along the southern Pan-American Highway. Flood alerts were issued in the central jungle regions of Peru as the rise of the Huallaga River threatened the towns of Tingo María, Tocache, and Picota. The central highlands also had flooding problems. In the department of Junín, heavy rainfall affected hundreds of people. On the north coast of Peru, the Reque River overflowed destroying over 150 hectares of agricultural land near Chiclayo. The province of San Martin was hit hard by the rains, leaving thousands homeless.

Figure 3. Rains continued in March, to flood many regions in Peru. Over 80 percent of the country now is above normal in cumulative precipitation for this time of year. Previously flooded areas continued to be saturated and rains also hit the eastern portion of the country.

Rains may continue, as the rainy season in Peru continues through March and April. (For additional information, contact Dr. Denise McWilliams, South American crop analyst at 202-720-0107).

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Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.

For more information contact Denise McWilliams | Denise | (202) 720-0107
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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