LIMA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Devastating floods have caused upwards of 3.1 billion U.S. dollars in damages in Peru, according to a study released on Friday.
That figure represents 1.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the daily El Comercio said on its website, citing the study by the Macroconsult consulting firm.
The government, which has yet to release its estimate of the economic losses, projects economic growth of over 4 percent for the year.
Heavy rains, flooding and mudslides unleashed by the so-called coastal El Nino phenomenon, sparked by unusually high sea temperatures, have since December claimed 85 lives, injured another 270, and left 20 people missing, while some 800,000 people have been left homeless.
According to Macroconsult, which said it based its report on information from the National Civil Defense Institute, damage to infrastructure has been extensive, with 153,329 homes destroyed or impaired, 7,500 kilometers of roadways and 509 vehicle bridges or footbridges washed away or collapsed, and 1,250 schools and hundreds of healthcare centers affected.
The damage to roadways alone amounts to 1.259 billion dollars, followed by 1.123 billion dollars in losses from damage to homes.
The east-central part of the country, where the capital Lima is situated, bore the brunt of the damage (574 million dollars), followed by Lambayeque (435 million dollars) and Piura (387 million dollars), both in the west.
The surface temperature of Peru's Pacific Ocean has reached 29 degrees Celsius, some seven degrees higher than the seasonal average.