The president of Peru's National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (Devida), Alberto Otálora, during a presentation at the annual coca crop monitoring report released today, Wednesday, July 13, 2016, by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Lima, Peru. EFE/ERNESTO ARIAS

Peru’s government extends state of emergency in 18 regions to prevent El Niño

Lima, Oct 3 (EFE).- The Peruvian government on Tuesday made official a 60-day extension of the state of emergency ordered in 18 regions of the country to continue with the prevention and emergency works given the possibility of heavy rains and the impact of the global El Niño weather phenomenon, announced for the coming months.

A supreme decree made the measure official. It was published in the official gazette El Peruano. It will take effect as of October 7 in districts of the regions of Amazonas, Ancash, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Ica, Junin, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Lima, Moquegua, Pasco, Piura, San Martin, Tacna and Tumbes.

The decision was taken to continue with the execution of measures and actions of exception, immediate and necessary to reduce the “very high existing risk,” as well as the corresponding response and rehabilitation.

The extension of the state of emergency was announced on Monday by the Peruvian Prime Minister, Alberto Otárola, who said it covers districts of 139 provinces in 18 regions of the country.

“This is a vital extension given the activity and actions that the central government has been developing in favor of the people in these districts,” he commented.

President Dina Boluarte, Prime Minister Otárola, and the Ministers of Defense, Agrarian Development and Irrigation, Education, Interior, Health, and Housing signed the decree.

The Peruvian government said last September 19 that it maintains the forecast that the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to reach the country from next December, will be “moderate to severe,” with a possible more significant impact in the northern regions of Tumbes and Piura, bordering Ecuador.

In this regard, the Minister of Housing, Hania Perez de Cuellar, said that the Executive has approved a budget of 3,357 million soles (883.4 million dollars) to face the climatic phenomenon.

“Of this amount, we have 77% certified in procurement processes and 42% committed, which already has a signed contract. We are progressing according to plan,” she added.

President Boluarte announced shortly before that her government would declare a state of emergency in 544 districts in the south of the country due to a water deficit risk due to the drought registered in the last months.

Specialists point out that this deficit is due to the few rains that have fallen since 2021 due to the alteration produced by climatic phenomena such as La Niña and El Niño Costero, so the National Water Agency (ANA) remarks that “it is important that the population, farmers, and products begin to use water rationally and responsibly.” EFE