Landslide Buries Dozens of Houses in Peru, Rescues Underway

A landslide triggered by intense rainfall in the mountainous La Libertad region of Peru buried dozens of homes on Tuesday, with rescue operations now underway.

Around 8:30 a.m., a landslide caused by a hill collapsing in the province of Pataz buried between 60 and 80 houses, said La Libertad Governor Manuel Llempen, Peruvian news outlet RPP reported. At least seven people have been reported missing so far, three of which are minors.

This isn't the first time the region of La Libertad has been devastated by a landslide, which can be common in Peru during heavy rains. In 2009, 13 people, including a child, were killed after landslide buried several homes in mud, NDTV reported. Tuesday's disaster could be heading in the same direction.

There were no confirmed deaths at this time, and rescue teams have arrived at the site. However, it's feared there could be dozens of fatalities as people are still trapped inside their homes, according to Express. Governor Llempen told RPP it takes approximately 16 hours to get to the region by road.

"There are quite a few people buried. We do not have enough support to be able to rescue him soon and alive," said Carlos Alberto Valderrama, the commissioner of Retamas, RPP reported.

"The relatives of those who are distressed risk their lives by going there, trying to dig. There are elderly people, there are miners, there are children, babies," he added, according to a translation.

Videos posted to social media showed a large part of the hillside suddenly giving way. Tons of rocks, trees and mud rushed down the side of the hill onto the town below. A clip posted to Twitter by user @AdrianzenJuanjo showed rescuers attempting to break down a wall in order to free people stuck inside a building.

Peru's president, Pedro Castillo, tweeted that the government would provide support for the families affected by the disaster and is sending help to the region, saying in a translation, "I have arranged for the head of the @indeciperu and the Minister of Defense to go to the area affected by the landslide in the province of Pataz in the La Libertad region."

Jose Gavidia, a member a Peru's ministry of defense, added on Twitter "Together with a rapid response team from @indeciperu we [are] headed to the town of Retamas, district of Parcoy (La Libertad) in an emergency to attend to the emergency caused by a landslide on a hillside. We will provide all the necessary help to the affected families."

The coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center (COEN), Rolando Capucho, said at least 15 people were reported being trapped and three people have been rescued so far. He added these are only preliminary numbers with more reports coming in.

"It is presumed, based on information provided by the residents, that there are more people (trapped and disappeared), but in the COEN, we only handle official information. It is important to validate what they tell us," he said in a translation, according to RPP.

This is at least the fourth fatal landslide in recent months. On February 15, a mudslide near Rio de Janeiro killed 78 people, and in December 2021, a landslide in Myanmar was confirmed to have killed at least one person. In October 2021, landslides in China killed at least 18 people in two of the country's provinces.

Update 3/15/22, 3:20 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

Peru Landslide Buries Homes
Dozens of homes in a remote town in the Andes of Peru were buried Tuesday after a hillside collapsed due to heavy rains in the area, according to authorities. Above, this photo provided by the Parcoy Municipality shows the path of a mudslide in Parcoy, Peru, on Tuesday, March 15. (Parcoy Municipality via AP) Parcoy Municipality/AP Photo