February 6, 2002

Rare rain turns deadly in Lima

LIMA, Peru (AP) --A mother and her 11-month-old baby were crushed to death in
a landslide Wednesday touched off by the heaviest rains to hit this desert city in more
than three decades.

Torrential downpours drove more than 2,000 families from their homes in several
areas on Peru's coast and in the Andes mountains, authorities said.

Sara Hinostroza, 25, and her daughter, Zuriel, were killed when rain that had been
falling since early Tuesday flooded a hillside shantytown around dawn, Civil Defense
Institute spokesman Jorge Arguedas said. One other person died during the storm
but no details were available.

Rain is extremely rare in Lima, a shantytown-ringed city of 8 million people that sits
in a narrow coastal desert. The rain this week was the heaviest rain to hit the Lima
area in 32 years, said Ena Jaimes, a weather expert at the National Meteorology and
Hydrology Service. The rains had subsided in the capital by Wednesday afternoon.

The last significant rainfall in Lima occurred in February 1995, Jaimes said.

Peru's Andean mountain region, where the rainy season runs from December to
March, saw heavier-than-normal rainfall that began Monday and continued through

In Cuzco, the country's main tourist hub, 340 miles southeast of Lima, the airport
was closed most of Monday and Tuesday due to thick fog and rain.

The unusual weather is caused by a cold-air front that has pushed the humid clouds
that cover Peru's eastern Amazon jungle toward the mountains and the coast, Jaimes

 Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.