Death toll rises to 72 in Peru rains, flooding, mudslides

The number of people killed in Peru following rains and mudslides around the Andean nation climbed to 72, with thousands more displaced from destroyed homes and others waiting on rooftops for rescue.

LIMA, Peru — The intense rains, overflowing rivers, mudslides and flooding being experienced in the country are the worst seen in in two decades, Peruvian authorities said Saturday, affecting more than half the nation as the death toll since the beginning of the year hits 72.

Prime Minister Fernando Zavala on Saturday updated the number of dead to 72 in comments to local radio station RPP.

The government says 374 people were killed in 1998 during a similar period of massive rains and flooding caused by rains blamed on the El Nino climate pattern.

The rains have overwhelmed the drainage system in the cities along Peru’s Pacific coast and the health ministry has started fumigating around the pools of water that have…