Deadly downpours, flooding, and mudslides caused by a coastal El Nino have brought devastation to thousands of people in Peru.
At least 72 people have been killed and more than 62,000 people have been affected by the storm. More than 8,000 homes have been destroyed.
In the midst of the tragedy, Peruvians and Christians around the world are praying for lives to be spared and flood waters to recede. Some have launched a prayer effort on Twitter and other social media called #PrayForPeru.
Rossana Zapata Nieri, our Mundo Cristiano (Christian World News Spanish) correspondent in Lima reports since last January, the country has experienced heavy rains along the northern coast. She says this weekend, the Huaycoloro and Chillon Rivers spilled over their banks and caused extensive flooding in the regions of La Libertad, Cajamarca, Ancash, and the capital city of Lima.
"The flooding of the rivers has led to the collapse of bridges and the isolation of entire populations," reports Zapata Nieri. "Churches are joining forces to gather and deliver the necessary assistance of water, non-perishable food, and blankets to the victims."
The phenomenon that is known as "El Niño coastal" is the warming of the waters located off the coast of Peru and Ecuador. When the ocean temperature rises four or five degrees above normal, heavy precipitation may occur due to the strong evaporation of water and heavy winds.
An end to the misery and suffering of the Peruvian people may not come anytime soon. Meteorologists predict the rains will continue until the end of April and intensify in the central highlands and in the jungle.
Watch for more reports from Zapata Nieri and our Mundo Cristiano team on the devastating Peruvian floods, recovery, relief, and prayer efforts in the days ahead.