This earthquake may have caused substantial damage and casualties due to its location and size.
U.S. National Earthquake Center
In the highlands temperatures are dropping to zero degrees, and many people shivered
through the weekend as more than 100 aftershocks rocked the ground. Afraid to return to
unstable or flattened homes, thousands are living in the streets. The quake killed at least 70
people, injured 1,200, and left 20,500 homeless.
Relief officials are unable to reach many residents in isolated towns, some accessible only by
helicopter. The death toll will rise as rescue workers assess the situation in remote areas,
relief groups reported.
The quake -- one of the largest the world has seen in several years -- lasted for nearly a
minute. Thousands of homes and buildings were leveled or damaged. The city of Arequipa
-- Peru's second-largest city located some 450 miles south of Lima -- was hard hit, and 70
percent of homes there were damaged, according to government reports. In the city of
Moquegua, 80 percent of buildings were damaged or destroyed. Tacna, where some 1,000
houses were destroyed, and Camana were also hard hit, and homes in Lima sustained
damage as well. Water, electricity, and phones were still unavailable Monday in most of
In the coastal town of Camana, officials said a tidal wave Saturday had destroyed houses
and killed at least 20 people, with two dozen more missing.
Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global
coalition of faith-based disaster response
organizations, released $20,000 for rapid
response. ACT members in Peru, Diaconia and
Predes, have deployed emergency teams to the
hardest-hit areas. Rescue workers were trying to
distribute medicine along with other aid to avoid
disease outbreaks. The Peruvian Red Cross was
also tending to people's immediate needs.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency
also responded, sending water, blankets, and
tents to some 1,000 families in the Moquegua area. "People's lives have been completely
turned upside down," said Frank Teeuwen, ADRA bureau chief for disaster preparedness
and response. "With temperatures dipping below zero at night, we must focus on the
urgent need for shelter. ADRA also is providing three big water tanks for drinking."
Damages and injuries were also reported in northern Chile. Hardest hit was the city of
Arica, located 1,250 miles north of Santiago.
The U.S. National Earthquake Center in Golden, CO. reported that the earthquake was
centered off Peru's Pacific coast, some 120 miles west of Arequipa.
In 1970, when a 7.7-magnitude quake struck Peru, some 70,000 people died.
As northern Peru tries to respond to the quake, southern Peru is coping with heavy rains
and flooding that have driven thousands of farm families from their homes. According to
ACT, houses, crops, and livestock have been lost and residents face an acute food shortage.
Local ACT partners are assisting families with emergency food, seeds, and tools for
replanting, and also offering training in disaster preparedness.
Week of Compassion, a giving program coordinated through the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ), is supporting ACT's efforts.
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