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Peru declares emergency in Amazon district due to oil spill

Staff writer ▼ | March 1, 2016
The Peruvian government declared an emergency in 16 communities in Morona in the Amazonian region of Loreto, due to environmental damage caused by the oil spill from the North Peruvian Pipeline in Cashacaño.
Petroperu Morona
Disaster   Petroperu was fined $3.59 million
The declaration, which was published in the official daily El Peruano, will be in effect for 60 days and requires officials in the Loreto regional government, Datem del Marañon province and the district of Morona to coordinate response and restoration programs with other government agencies.

The programs will be funded from the budgets of the government entities involved in the response, the decree said. The oil spills in the regions of Loreto Amazonas have injured about 100 people and affected 4,500 others.

The first rupture of the North Peruvian Pipeline occurred on January 25 in the municipality of Imaza-Chiriaco, Amazonas region, where between 2,000 and 3,000 barrels of crude were spilled over the three days it took Petroperu to repair the conduit.

The spilled oil affected the Inayo, Chiriaco and Marañon (an Amazon tributary) rivers and the Suashapea, Pakunt, Chiriaco, Nuevo Progreso, Nazareth and Nuevo Horizonte Indian communities.

A 12-year-old boy who helped clean up the spilled oil is among the injured.

The boy told Peruvian media he was paid two soles ($0.57) by state-owned Petroperu, the pipeline’s operator, for every bucket of crude he collected.

Petroperu said in a statement that it was paying for the medical care of the boy, who was transported to Piura, a city on Peru’s north coast, for treatment.

The second spill occurred on February 3 in Datem del Marañon province and resulted in oil reaching the Mayuriaga River and then the Morona River, a Marañon tributary.

Petroperu was fined 12.64 million soles (about $3.59 million) by the Energy and Mining Investment Supervisory Body, or Osinergmin, for failing to properly maintain the pipeline.

The North Peruvian Pipeline transports oil extracted from fields in the Peruvian Amazon to the Pacific port of Bayovar along a 854-kilometer (530-mile) route.