Peruvians race to rescue animals as oil spill spreads

Environment Minister Ruben Ramirez has said that some 6,000 barrels of oil were spilled in the incident, which has left oil on 21 beaches.

Peru's Agency for Environmental Assessment and Enforcement (OEFA) said in a statement that as of Thursday the area affected included 1.7 million square metres of land and 1.2 million square metres in the sea.

The spill, blamed on unusual swells caused by a volcanic eruption thousands of miles away in Tonga on Sunday, has dirtied waters and beaches along Peru's Pacific coast, with dead birds washing up on shore.

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo declared an environmental emergency on Thursday as clean-up teams struggled to contain a huge oil spill at the country's biggest refinery, after rogue waves rocked a ship unloading crude there.

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