Up to 60 people are feared dead after a landslide engulfed 25 houses in the region of La Libertad in northwestern Peru, the country's RPP radio said on Friday.

The tragedy occurred in the Sanchez Carrion Province, some 750 km (466 miles) from the capital Lima.

"The 1.5-km (0.9-mile) landslide has completely buried 25 houses under a heap of stones and mud," a local administration official said, adding that 12 people have so far been rescued.

The rescue operation is being hampered by heavy rains.

Since the beginning of the year over 40 people have been killed and 40,000 affected by flash floods and landslides, caused by deforestation and soil erosion, in the Latin American country.