At least nine people have died in Peru as a powerful cyclone unleashed torrential rains, battering hundreds of homes and causing major disruptions in northern areas. Meanwhile, the effects of the cyclone have subsided in Ecuador, where at least three deaths have been reported from flooding as a result of intense rains.
Named Yaku, the circulating weather system is highly unusual in the equatorial regions due to lack of steering wind currents that impact weather in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The cycle is centered off the northern coast of Peru.
The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency as it seeks to bring relief to regions including Lambayeque, Piura and Tumbes. The National Institute of Civil Defense early on Friday said the death toll from flooding caused by Yaku is expected to rise.
“Cyclone Yaku is a very unusual phenomenon causing intensifying rains in the north,” said the director of civil defense, César Sierra. “The system appears to be moving away from the coast so we expect to see relief in the coming days.”
Sierra said that Yaku has not produced damaging winds on the mainland since has been centered offshore.
Later, the institute said 58 people had been killed since the start of the rainy season but said most of the deaths were not directly related to Yaku.
President Dina Boluarte visited parts of northern Peru on Saturday as the government delivered humanitarian aid to areas badly hit by the cyclone.
In Ecuador, emergency management officials said that the rains produced by Yaku were subsiding. They added that March is part of the rainy season in Ecuador and that normal weather patterns are returning.