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Death toll climbs to 72 as floods, mudslides hit Peru

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Rescuers help local residents of the town of Huarmey, Peru. (Getty Images)

The death toll in Peru’s flooding and mudslides reached 72 over the weekend, according to state-run news agency Andina.

More than half a million people in and around the country’s capital, Lima, have been affected by storms and flooding, authorities said. “We know it is a difficult situation, but we are controlling it, and we are hopeful that it will soon pass,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said Monday.

Weeks of rain have caused rivers across the country to rise and people to flee since the rainy season began earlier this month. Several cities have declared states of emergency.

Rainy season could last 2 more weeks

Amateur video showed one woman’s dramatic escape in Punta Hermosa, a suburb of Lima.

The woman, identified in media reports as Evangelina Chamorro Diaz, pulled herself out from under fallen debris and walked — completely covered in mud — over fallen wooden panels. The video also showed a cow escaping from the mud-filled crater.

Diaz survived by grabbing onto tree branches and pieces of wood, Peruvian media reported. She was treated at a hospital and reported in stable condition.

Kuczynski tweeted thanks for support to the Pope and the government of Ecuador. He earlier used Twitter to urge citizens to remain calm.

The rainy season could last another two weeks.

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