Deadly landslide hits southern Peru amid heavy rain | Weather news

Rescue efforts continue as rainfall drenches regions like Arequipa, the center of recent anti-government protests.

At least eight people were killed in a landslide in southern Peru and five others were missing as torrential rain lashed the region on Monday.

Another twenty people received help for minor injuries, according to the office of the Ministry of Health of Peru in the mountain town of Secocha, where the landslide occurred.

Located on the banks of the Ocoña River in the province of Camaná, Secocha is one of the areas in the Arequipa department facing high water levels as heavy rain continues to fall. As of Monday morning, the Ocoña was flowing at 585.6 cubic meters per second, and the Peruvian government warned that the swollen river could affect nearby population centers.

To deal with the aftermath of the landslide, the Ministry of Health announced on Twitter that it would send “two brigades of doctors, nurses and mental health professionals to the area”, as well as 150 kg of medicine to the region.

The Peruvian military also sent helicopters to the region, transporting humanitarian aid, drinking water and sandbags to the emergency site.

“Search and rescue efforts are continuing,” the Defense Ministry said in a tweet calling out misinformation surrounding the landslide. With some media reports putting the death toll at as high as 36, the ministry wrote that it recommended citizens “get information from official sources.”

The Associated Press news agency reports that Wilson Gutierrez, a civil protection official in the municipality of Mariano Nicolás Valcárcel, previously said in an interview with radio station RPP that 36 people died in an isolated area called Miski. RPP News also reported that some of the dead were hit by falling rocks while traveling in a truck along the Urasqui-Secocha highway.

The landslide occurred amid ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Peru, many of which are concentrated in southern regions such as Arequipa.

The protests were sparked in December when then-President Pedro Castillo tried to illegally dissolve Congress before the third impeachment hearing. The move led to Congress overwhelmingly impeaching Castillo, who has since been detained on sedition and conspiracy charges.

His former vice president, Dina Boluarte, was sworn in as Peru’s first female president on the same day.

Castillo, once considered a black presidential candidate, is a former school teacher and union organizer from rural northern Peru. His presidency has galvanized support in other poor, rural areas of the country, including Arequipa, where protesters stormed the airport and blocked highways in response to his arrest.

Protests against Castillo’s detention have lasted for more than two months, and protesters are demanding Castillo’s release, Boluarte’s dismissal, the dissolution of Congress, new elections and a revision of the constitution.

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