Thursday, March 23, 2017

And now food shortages


Four days ago in the late afternoon there was a brilliant rainbow to the east of the city. Our neighbors took it as a sign that the rain was over. So far they’ve been right. No rain for four days and most (not all) of the streets in Chiclayo are dry. We consider ourselves to be lucky. The cities to the north, east and south are still getting hammered.

Busses and trucks are not getting through from Lima. Much of the packaged food items sold in the big department stores; Tottus, Metro and Plaza Vea come from Lima. Milk and bread shelves are empty. Packaged meats sections nearly so. There are signs in some stores limiting customers to one kilo per family of several food items.

Food prices in the above mentioned stores have increased, but not nearly as much as at the farmers markets. This is not just due to transportation issues, but also because fields are flooded. Local growers are taking advantage of the reduced supply to increase prices. So far prices for local baked goods; bread, roles, cakes have not increased but probably will as the baker’s supply of sugar, flour etc. diminishes. Poultry prices have increased slightly. There are a lot of chickens and ducks raised locally so I don’t expect a supply problem, but demand will/has increased so those prices will probably rise.

The air force is still flying into and out of Chiclayo and other cities, transporting people to their homes who were stranded when the floods began.

Four houses collapsed within a two block radius of our home. Others are still not habitable and may never be. In the downtown area several business buildings collapsed.  I have no idea what the total damage figures will be. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of homes lost in Chiclayo is in the hundreds. The washed out roads and bridges will take a while to repair. But already life is going on as usual. The street vendors are out in full force, the streets are once again open to endless lines of combis, taxis and mototaxis looking for passengers, and the mall is again home to huge crowds of people. The cinema was damaged and is still not open; the only reminder of the floods that closed the mall several times in the last month.

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