Peru has been struggling to regain its footing after facing a multitude of political crises and taking a devastating hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the country is bracing for yet another blow with the potential to inflict more serious damage and worsen political tensions.
On July 4, the World Meteorological Organization announced that the climate phenomenon known as El Nino has returned after a seven-year hiatus. Caused by a temporary warming of the waters in the Pacific Ocean, El Nino usually lasts about nine months. In the process, it causes major weather disruptions, often with catastrophic consequences for some populations.
No one is more familiar with El Nino than Peruvians. After all, it was Peruvian fishermen who named it in the 17th century. The moniker, which means “the boy” in Spanish, is a reference to the baby Jesus, because El Nino occurs during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months and generally coincides with Christmas. The periodic condition fuels torrential rains, extreme heat and a slew of knock-on troubles, including major economic losses.