Rainy season in Cusco is terribly unpredictable. This year we seemed to be poised for a less intense rainy season than we’ve had in previous years. We’ve had plenty of sunshine, and I even overheard some Cusqueñans complaining about the “heat”, saying that they don’t know how to deal with hot weather in Cusco!
However, that all changed last week as the entire southern Andes region of Peru saw intense rainfall and flooding, from the Sacred Valley all the way to Arequipa.
On February 10th, sudden heavy rains caused the river that flows between the communities of Rumira Sondormayo and Patacancha to overflow, inundating fields and creeping up property lines
The heavy rains caused the river to swell and overflow, creeping up towards property lines.
Luckily, there were no major damages in Rumira Sondormayo, one of Threads of Peru’s partner communities, although some houses did suffer some water damage, and many families lost crops, chickens and guinea pigs.
I and a couple of coworkers from Apus Peru travelled up to the community to assess the impact of the flooding, bringing some basic supplies with us. Due to the loss of much of this year’s harvest, we will be contributing additional staples in the coming weeks such as rice and sugar, in order to help offset the impact of this loss.
Fields and livestock holding pens were inundated by the river's flow.
Right now, the community is busy reinforcing the river’s edge in order to prevent a similar overflow in case there is another heavy rainfall. Down below, on the outskirts of Ollantaytambo, others were doing their part as well, making offerings to Pachamama in the hopes that she might spare them another deluge.
The force of the river's flow flattened many planted crops.
In Cusco, we’re bracing ourselves for power outages as electrical storms threaten the main power lines throughout the South.
This is life during the rainy season in the Andes!
But, in another month’s time, repairs to damages caused by rain and flooding will be well under way as the dry season begins to take hold once again, and this year’s events will become just another memory in the never-ending cycle of seasons.