El Nino floods streets of Peru’s capital

LIMA, Peru (AP) — El Ni¤o-powered rains sent a river spilling over its banks into a working-class district of Lima, Peru’s sprawling desert capital, filling streets with up to 3 feet of water Monday.
Hundreds of panicked residents dragged their belongings from their homes, while the water of the Huaycoloro River washed away dozens of straw shacks.
Residents of larger adobe or brick buildings waved for help from the roofs or upper floors of their homes. There were no reports of deaths.
The flood marked the first time that this year’s El Ni¤o has struck Lima, which normally goes decades without heavy rain.
The flood was caused by torrential rains that started on Sunday in the hills northeast of Lima.
Civil defense officials warned that buildings in Lima, many of which are old and made of adobe, are not prepared for flooding and may collapse.
President Alberto Fujimori told reporters late Sunday that El Ni¤o is now in its strongest phase. The rough spell will last “a few days, or perhaps a week or two, more,” he said.
Floods and mudslides brought on by El Ni¤o have caused at least 150 deaths and left tens of thousands homeless in Peru since mid-December, according to estimates by civil defense and local authorities. The government has not released official damage figures.