Peru to spend more than $1 bln on climate plan, mitigate El Niño

Peru's President Boluarte presents her new cabinet, in Lima
Peru's President Dina Boluarte, who took office after her predecessor Pedro Castillo was ousted, salutes next to Alex Contreras, Peru's new Minister of Economy and Finance, in Lima, Peru December 10, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

LIMA, March 23 (Reuters) - Peru's government will spend some $1.06 billion on climate and weather measures, a senior minister announced on Thursday, in a bid to prevent and contain adverse impacts stemming from climate change and El Niño-related weather events.

El Niño, a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that affects weather, will likely contribute to heavy rainfall and potential flooding expected in Peru from April.

Economy Minister Alex Contreras made the announcement during a Cabinet meeting with President Dina Boluarte, emphasizing "significant risks" from climate events that could hit the country's economic health.

Recent downpours and flooding that followed powerful cyclone Yaku caused more than $300 million in damages to infrastructure in the South American country, according to Contreras.

The minister said the spending plan will focus on regions where the greatest climate effects are expected, with disbursements set to begin in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, the ENFEN government agency that studies El Niño issued a coastal alert due to what it described as an unexpected increase in Pacific Ocean surface temperatures.

During the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Alberto Otarola said the expected warming will probably continue through July, with above-normal rainfall likely in April and June.

Peru has suffered major weather-related catastrophes in recent years.

In 2017, El Niño-related weather was blamed for at least 162 dead along with severe damage to infrastructure including roadways and bridges equivalent to 2% of the country's economy, according to official data.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Leslie Adler

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