Thursday, February 2, 2017

Chiclayo cleans up after a flood

For the past week much of the printed and broadcast news coming out of Lima has been about the severe flooding in the south of the country. Lima, Ica, Arequipa and other districts have seen extensive damage as rivers overflowed their banks. Houses, cars and even a hotel were shown being carried along by raging rivers flowing down what in drier times is Main Street.

Last night it was Chiclayo’s turn. It had rained the previous two nights with no accumulation, but yesterday there were ugly black clouds all day in the southeast, and older locals warned about what might happen at night. The rain started at about 7:00 pm and became more intense as time passed. By 9:00 there was several inches of water in the streets. At about 9:30 the power went off. A rumor spread that city authorities had intentionally turned off the power to prevent shorting and electrical fires. At midnight water was entering first-floor houses despite sandbags and broom brigades attempting to keep the water out. People were also on their roofs (as were we) removing any water accumulation. Roofs here are flat and any standing water tends to find its way into the structure below. At about 2:00 am the rain lessened and the water level began receding. Weary residents went to bed, knowing that they’d be faced with clean-up in the morning.

The new day, without rain and with power restored saw residents trying to remove water from their homes while at the same time trying to prevent more from entering. Passing vehicles caused waves that entered houses. Most drivers understood the situation and drove slowly. Those that did not were greeted by shouts questioning their ancestry and intelligence.

Today in our neighborhood if you want to leave your house without getting wet you need to wear boots or go barefoot in shorts. Otherwise you’ll spend some time washing and drying your clothing and shoes.

It’s not raining now but dark clouds are above and all around. It could be that tonight we’ll see a repeat of last night. It’s a helpless feeling; watching the rain increase and the water rise and trying to combat it with brooms, pails and sandbags, knowing that nature is going to win the fight. But there’s this…the rainy season will end and flooded streets will be only a memory, for a while at least.


  1. The rain has stopped, but there is no noticeable activity of there being a "cleaning up" period. The tragedy is that the government of Chiclayo had no plan for such a devastating natural disaster. There is still unchecked corruption in all levels of government (not much has changed after the bad days of Beto Torres, the once favored mayor). The government must plan for similar natural disasters and not just raise taxes to pad the salaries of elected officials, judges, and police.

    1. Hello Arthur...thanks for writing. You probably know that last year there was extensive planning and work done in anticipation of an El Nino that never appeared. I don't understand why that plan has not been implemented now.

  2. I pray for my friends in Cix

  3. Mi querido Chiclayo, what a surprise to read there`s no coherent plan yet in place for Natur`s revenge. JLM x

  4. My prayers are with the citizens of Chiclayo and Peru. I am thinking of visiting Chiclayo in mid April. Hope the city will be back to normal by then.