Peru Landslides Kill Over Dozen After Political Turmoil

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags:

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

LIMA (Worthy News) – As the world rushed to help Turkey and Syria cope with their worst tremors in over a century, the death toll of landslides in Peru rose to at least 15 amid deadly political turmoil.

Sunday’s landslides triggered by heavy rain swept mud, water, and rocks into several villages in southern Peru, authorities said.

Additionally, 20 people were injured after the landslides struck an area near the riverside town of Secocha, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of the city of Arequipia.

Wilson Gutierrez, a civil defense official, earlier told local radio that 36 bodies had been recovered, but on Tuesday, the government later lowered the death toll to at least 15.

Residents of five small gold-mining villages in southern Peru’s Arequipa region struggled to salvage belongings as nature turned precarious homes and other buildings into rubble.

In the Mariano Nicolás Valcárcel municipality, on the edges of a depleted mining extraction area, people braved the mud to search for their belongings.

At least 10 homes were destroyed, according to national emergency services, although that number appeared likely to grow significantly, along with 310 homes reported damaged so far.


William Alvarado, a district mayor in one of the hardest-hit areas, said over 1,000 families had been affected, almost all of them severely. “We can say that the houses of 90 percent of the affected families were completely destroyed,” he stressed in a statement.

Video of the landslides revealed one sloping town street transformed into a running river of mud, rocks, and debris, with homes and other structures torn down immediately upon contact. Locals could be heard shouting at those in its path to run.

Arial footage from above Secocha by local outlet Radio Victoria later showed large parts of nearby hillsides scrubbed of any vegetation, with huge piles of earth at the bottom where houses once stood.

President Dina Boluarte flew over the disaster zone on Tuesday morning to survey the damages. Boluarte told reporters in Arequipa that she offered her condolences to the victims and noted her “government efforts to help” as landslide cleanup often suffered significant delays. “We will now show a big difference on that so that in the shortest amount of time, we can recover as fast as possible,” she said.

Along with local officials, Boluarte posed for pictures in front of piles of supplies set for distribution. It was also a message to her predecessor after recent anti-government protestors demanded his return. The deadly landslides follow two months of political upheaval in Peru marred by violence in which at least 48 people have died.

Many of the protests centered in areas near the landslides. The early December ouster and arrest of former President Pedro Castillo triggered the rallies. Demonstrators demand his release, the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, early elections, the dissolution of parliament, and a new constitution.

But Boluarte refuses to step down, and last week Congress halted attempts to bring forward elections slated for 2026.

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