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Although this global climate event has already begun, it will have a greater impact on our country in November and December 2023 and in the summer of 2024. During this period, heavy rains are expected on the northern coast, while the southern Andes will face droughts.

The El Niño phenomenon will bring heavy rains and floods to the northern coast of Peru, while a period of drought will occur in the south. This event, which occurs in a context of climate change, increases the country’s vulnerabilities for disaster prevention, control and damage reduction.

While traveling and discovering new spots in Lima you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to have a tourist SIM card. In order to understand and find new adventures, here in PeruSIM. The following article is about how will El Niño affect Peru.

What is the El Niño phenomenon?

It is a climatic phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years and is characterized by an increase in the surface temperature of the tropical Pacific Ocean, mainly in Ecuador and along the coasts of South and Central America. On June 8, the Climate Prediction Center of the United States Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the onset of this phenomenon at a global level, with 84% probability that it will be more than moderate in strength this winter and 56% that it will be strong. This announcement was made after the temperature of the surface waters of the tropical Pacific reached 0.8 degrees Celsius in May, double what had been recorded in April.

Why is it known as El Niño?

Because fishermen in northern Peru observed at the end of the 19th century that in December, close to the celebration of Christmas, the temperature of the sea water began to increase. Then, they attributed that warming to the arrival of a warm water marine current which they named El Niño.

Does the El Niño phenomenon occur simultaneously with El Niño Costero?

Yes. El Niño Costero is characterized by the presence of warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, which are currently three degrees warmer than usual. It began in Peru in March, causing heavy rains and floods, mainly in the northern coast of the country, and is projected to culminate at the end of the year. Rina Gabriel, spokeswoman of the Multisectoral Commission in charge of the National Study of the El Niño Phenomenon (Enfen), explains that the El Niño phenomenon may favor the extension of El Niño Costero until the following summer, and generate heavy rains.

When will the impacts of El Niño be seen?

Although the El Niño phenomenon has already begun, it will have the greatest impact in November and December of this year and between January and March 2024. During these months there will be heavy rains mainly in the northern coast and western highlands, and droughts in the southern part of the country, especially in the Andes. These droughts could hit the regions of Arequipa, Puno and Cusco the hardest, given that in September 2022 and in the summer of this year there was much less rain than expected, according to Peru’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (Senamhi).

What happens if it doesn’t rain?

Cusco, for example, has five water supply systems for human consumption: Jaquira, Kor Kor, Vilcanota, Salkantay and Piuray. The latter provides drinking water service to about 30% of the population; however, this year its main source of supply, the Piuray lagoon, has not reached the level it should normally have to supply the population, due to the lack of rainfall. The president of the board of directors of the Municipal Water Company, Juan Figueroa, warned that the upper area of the imperial city could run out of water in the next three months. One of the containment measures would be to take water from the Vilcanota system to the Piuray system.

To this end, Figueroa asked the government to include Cusco in the supreme decree that declares several regions of the country in emergency in order to be able to execute the work. The absence of rainfall also impacts agriculture, and with it people’s food supply, and livestock mortality given the scarcity of pastures.

What are the consequences on the health of the population?

Temperatures will remain higher on the coast of the country. This, added to rains and floods, generate a scenario conducive to the spread of infections by the vectors of dengue, chikungunya, zika and malaria. Gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea or cholera, or leptospirosis, which can be contracted after drinking or having contact with water contaminated by the urine or body fluids of sick animals, including rodents, may also appear. In the southern and central highlands of the country, due to low temperatures, respiratory infections tend to increase, mainly in children under five years of age.

What areas of the country would be affected by these pests?

Without a contingency plan, locusts would affect Piura, Lambayeque and the southern highlands; fruit flies would affect the coast from Tacna to Piura; yellow rust would affect the regions of Junin, Cusco, Puno, San Martin, Pasco, Cajamarca and Amazonas; and anthrax would affect livestock areas such as the Lurin Valley in Lima and the south of the country. Potatoes, onions, corn and coffee are among the crops that could be affected. The rodent plague, which would be present mainly in La Libertad and Lambayeque, could cause a public health problem with bubonic plague if their infected fleas bite humans.

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