Page last updated at 22:37 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Lethal landslide in Peruvian Andes city of Ayacucho

By Dan Collyns
BBC News, Lima

People look at a mud-encrusted car in Ayacucho, 17 December
Mud-swamped cars could be seen on city streets on Thursday

At least eight people have been killed and many more injured in the southern Peruvian city of Ayacucho after torrential rain triggered a landslide.

Civil defence authorities say the death toll is expected to rise. A torrent of mud and rock swept through the central streets of the Andean city.

Several people died as their cars were swept away or buried in the sea of mud.

The torrential rainfall began in the early evening and continued into the early hours of the morning.

Witnesses say the narrow streets of Ayacucho became like rivers but it got worse as mud and rock was washed into the city from the hills which surround it.

Dozens of homes and businesses were also destroyed.

Peruvian Prime Minister Javier Velasquez Quesquen is travelling to the region to direct aid efforts.

Reports from the city said rescue workers were continuing to recover bodies from the flood-stricken area.

Meteorologists say seasonal heavy rains had begun earlier and with more intensity than expected.

Some experts say Peru is experiencing a mild El Nino effect caused by shifting Pacific Ocean currents which causes intense rains and flooding.

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