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lunes, 15 de enero de 2018

One dead, 65 injured after massive earthquake shakes Peru

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern coast of Peru early Sunday, toppling numerous structures and leaving at least one person dead and dozens injured.

Officials said the 55-year-old man who was killed was crushed by falling rocks. His name has not yet been released.

One dead, dozens injured

The large quake struck at around 4:18 a.m. local time at a depth of around 22.4 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was 25 miles southwest of Acari, and was felt as far as Peru’s capital, Lima, 350 miles northwest.

The quake destroyed 63 homes, leaving 130 people displaced and 65 injured, according to Jorge Chavez, Peru’s chief of civil defense. Emergency crews are reportedly sending tents and mattresses to those who lost their homes.

The areas affected by the earthquake, including the districts of Arequipa, Ica, and Ayacucho, are primarily rural. Most of those injured were located in the Chala district, a coastal area dependent on fishing and mining.

Early reports of 17 people missing in a mine were later retracted.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned of possible subsequent tsunami waves that could have affected southern Peru, but later said that no waves were detected.

The country reacts

Cuban President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who visited two coastal tourism-driven towns, Chala and Acari, said some 100 homes had collapsed.

“Everything that is needed is going to be sent,” Kuczynski said. “We are already responding at full speed.”

Roads blocked by landslides are slowing down response efforts, but Regional Governor of Peru’s Arequipa, Yamila Osorio, tweeted that “machinery is already working on the unblocking of roads.”

Additionally, humanitarian aid in the form of “blankets” and “tents” is on the way according to Osorio — slowly but surely.

A quake-prone region

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the area between the South American and Nazca plates where the quake struck is a common source of tremors, with 13 quakes above a magnitude of 6.5 occurring over the last century. A magnitude 8.0 quake struck Peru in 2007, killing more than 500 people.

Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz said at a news conference in Lima that the government would declare a state of emergency to speed up reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis plans to visit Peru this week.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrible tragedy.