April 7, 2017 / 6:28 PM / 3 months ago

Peru's president says flood recovery may cost up to $9 billion

2 Min Read

FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of flooded streets as Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski inspects the floods from a helicopter in Piura, northern Peru, March 28, 2017. Luis Guillen/Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters

LIMA (Reuters) - The reconstruction of areas of Peru hit by severe floods in recent months will cost $3 billion in the short term, and up to $9 billion over five years, the country's president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, said in a radio interview on Friday.

Although Peru's mining-dependent economy was healthy in the long-term, the immediate effects of the floods were severe, Kuczynski said.

"Immediate reconstruction I think will cost us two to three billion dollars, and after that, the public works that will allow Peru to be a modern country will take time, not 15 years, but, yes, five years," the president said on local radio station RPP.

"There we have another five or six billion dollars."

Over a hundred people have died in Peru from rain-related events since December, many in March after a sudden warming of Pacific waters unleashed torrential downpours in the Andean nation.

At least 6,000 miles of highways have been destroyed. Kuczynski said in March that Peru would hike its 2017 budget by 3 percent to fund emergency and recovery efforts.

"Now, they're discussing if the fiscal deficit is going to be 2 or 3 percent, if (2017) growth is going to be 3 or 3.5 percent," Kuczynski said in the interview.

Last week, Peru's finance minister said reconstruction efforts would cost about $3 billion over three years and begin in the second half of 2017.

The recovery process would merit a wider fiscal deficit target, he said, but would not require the country to access debt markets.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Leslie Adler

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