Laguna Palcacocha still without its early warning system

A visit to Lake Palcacocha learned that the lake which caused the 1941 flood in Huaraz and killed approximately 2,000 people still counts without its early warning system. Although the lake is being monitored 24 hours a day by a live stream camera, warnings are still to be handmade.

The lake counts with three lake observers who have to report the weather conditions, lake conditions and other anomalies every two hours by a radio. Although the lake and Quebrada de Cojup offers a spectacular day trip to tourists, the access road is very difficult to get to. Not in the last place because a massive five meter high fence blocks the road towards the lake. Hikers will have to climb over a nearby wall to get access to the pathway. Motor fanatics of people driving a car will either have to leave their vehicles near the access gate, or try to get the community members living around the gate to open it. Surprisingly, the gate is locked.

A closer look at the lake also learned that the water level appears to be ´under control´. What did call our attention was the big amount of tubes for draining the lake water that were left unused, ruining not only the view at the lake but also causing extra ballast in case of a possible lake outburst. Astonishingly, the iron rings used to connect the tubes to each other, are not made of stainless steel and thus are they rusting.

The early warning system is much needed because on February the 6th earlier this month, a block of ice broke loose from Pucaranra and fell into the lagoon of Palcacocha. This happening generated four metre high waves causing disturbances among the locals in Huaraz. Luckily, the waves were fortunately retained by the seven meters high safety dam.

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