Weeks of rain in Peru have caused rivers to rise and people to flee. At least 62 people have been killed and more than 100 injured after heavy rain continued its wave of destruction since the rainy season began earlier this month.
PERU – Peru has been facing one of the worst natural disasters in recent decades since the beginning of this year. Massive flooding and dangerous mudslides have left 78 people dead and over 100,000 people displaced in the wake of destroyed homes and villages.
Weeks of heavy rain triggered by unusually high temperatures of Peru’s pacific coastline have caused rivers to flood along the arid coast, as is predicted to go on for another two weeks.
The heavy rains came as a surprise after scientists predicted a neutral year for the el Nino phenomenon, which brings a heavy rainy season.
The torrential downpour has affected urban centers and rural areas like, signaling a possible humanitarian crisis. CNN en Español reported that 27 hospitals have collapsed and over 300 other public health institutions have suffered damages.
Trujillo, Peru’s second largest urban center has been underwater for days. Other cities such as Lima haven’t been affected by the flooding but have been facing water shortages as treatment plants have been overwhelmed by the rising water levels and debris. Water supply has been shut off for more than 10 million people.
Although several dozen cities have declared states of emergencies, the government has not declared a nation-wide crisis, even though more than 600,000 people have been affected. PRI reported that food and bottled water prices have been soaring in the face of the crisis along with water.
In an interview with CNN en Español, Vice President and Minister of Transportation Martin Vizcarra admitted the government was unsure of the extent of the total damage that the heavy flooding has caused, as several rural areas are cut off from communication due to the country’s difficult geography. Vizcarra’s admission is alarming considering that many rural villages situate themselves next to rivers, putting them at risk.
A South Korean court has voted to uphold an impeachment vote against President Park Geun-hye. The ruling means Ms Park becomes the first democratically elected president to be removed from office, and could face prosecution over corruption allegations. So what does this mean for the country?
SOUTH KOREA – Yonhap News reported earlier this week that former president Park Gun-hye spent 14 hours being interrogated over a corruption scandal that got her impeached earlier this month by constitutional courts.
According to the BBC, the former president is the first democratically elected leader to be removed from office in South Korea on actions that “betrayed the people’s confidence.” Ms Park was accused of working with her friend Choi Soon-sil to make South Korean companies like Samsung buy favorable treatment by the government through donations to Ms Choi’s non-profit charities.
The corruption scandal, which has also implicated about a dozen other government officials and business heads, has done much to erode public trust. Lee Jae-yong, vice-chairman of Samsung, is facing charges for paying close to $36 million in bribes to Ms Choi’s foundations. The impeached Ms Park no longer has presidential immunity and could face criminal charges.
Elections will be called in the next 60 days after impeachment. This internal political turmoil is happening as North Korea continues to test launch missiles near the coast of Japan. The next president will face a divided public and increasing North Korean aggression.
EU leaders lined up on Thursday to congratulate Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on beating far-rightist Geert Wilders in the first of a series of European elections this year in which populist insurgent parties are hoping to rock the establishment.
THE NETHERLANDS – Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his center-right party gained a majority of parliamentary seats in last week’s election, ensuring his third successive term.
The Dutch moderate victory won 33 seats, beating out Geert Wilders’s far-right Freedom Party, who won 20.
Rutte and many European news outlets and leaders heralded Rutte’s win as a victory against the incoming tide of nationalist parties sweeping across European that have threatened to turn over moderate governments in Germany and France. Far-right anti-immigration candidates such as Marine Le Pen in France have gained considerable popularity ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, leaving many worried about the future of the Eurozone.
French outlet Le Monde wrote “The Netherlands and European can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Populist’s Spring did not begin in The Hague.”