NewsLatin AmericaFive mining villages in Peru are left in the rubble by avalanche

Five mining villages in Peru are left in the rubble by avalanche

Five villages in southern Peru were left amid rubble after landslides caused by constant rains on Sunday and Monday, which washed away mud, water and rocks and destroyed precarious facilities and homes in an area dedicated to informal gold mining.

The residents of the Mariano Nicolás Valcárcel municipality, settled on the slopes of a mining area, were looking for their belongings buried in the mud on Tuesday, while others with muddy shoes and desperate faces came from remote towns to ask for help.

One of them was Mauro Noa, leader of the Posco Miski village, who was requesting help and food to assist more than a thousand residents trapped since Sunday on the side of a mountain. They cannot cross because an immense body of mud and stones has formed in the shape of a river that surrounds the hill. “They are hungry and thirsty, nobody remembers them,” he told The Associated Press.

Noa indicated that in 18 years he had never seen an avalanche like the one that fell on Sunday in Posco Miski. He added that they have compiled a list of 14 residents of Posco Miski whose whereabouts are unknown. “People reacted in disorder, the neighbors who couldn’t leave their houses were carried away by the wave of mud,” said Noa. “The children have been traumatized, with the rain and the avalanche,” she added.

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Police dispatched 15 rescuers who were scheduled to reach Secocha late in the afternoon because the road is blocked by mud, police officer Giancarlo Vizcarra said.

The agent indicated that after arriving in Secocha carrying stretchers and ropes, they will try to go up to the most remote villages to look for bodies under the mud and for that they transferred two specialized dogs that work in earthquakes looking for people among the rubble.

A local Civil Protection official reported the day before that at least 36 people had died, however a prosecutor told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they only had confirmation of 12 dead and three missing. The federal government has not released any new figures, although the president was touring the area to see the disaster and receive the latest reports.

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The avalanche that fell on Sunday from the highest mountains swept away homes and everything in its path. The inhabitants could only scream and wail as they watched the dense torrent of brown water and mud slide down hard.

“We are isolated,” Arturo Muñoz, who lives in the heights of the town of La Eugenia, where the avalanche began on Sunday, told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday. The affected mining towns are in the Mariano Nicolás Valcárcel municipality, in the province of Camaná, Arequipa region.

The rescue tasks could not yet be deployed on Tuesday due to the difficulty of accessing the area with the relevant machinery, as explained by the local head of Civil Defense.

The main street of another of the settlements, Secocha, was still covered on Tuesday with a muddy mass that had penetrated through doors and windows. On that road, called Los Angeles, some cleaned the kitchens, refrigerators and televisions that worked without problems until the weekend in restaurants, hotels, clothing or food stores.

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The prosecutor in charge of the event, Luis Supo, rectified the death toll that had been released on Monday, when there was talk of 36 bodies recovered in the remote village of Posco Miski. The recount was announced by Wilson Gutiérrez, Civil Defense official of the Mariano Nicolás Valcárcel municipality, before the local RPP radio station.

However, the prosecutor Supo assured that until Tuesday they had only received 12 bodies rescued from the avalanches and that three other people were missing.

Civil Defense also indicated on Monday that the avalanches affected bridges, intakes, irrigation canals, roads and homes and around 630 houses were rendered useless. The impact of the landslides in the five affected villages was due to the fact that it is a descending zone of about 48 kilometers in which miners have been installed for two decades to extract gold from adits.

Constant rains are frequent in February in Peru, a time when rainfall causes avalanches that affect homes, but also public infrastructure, including bridges and roads.

Source: VOA Español


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