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Response expands in Peru

BY SUSAM KIM | BALTIMORE, MD | June 27, 2001

"Shelter is urgently needed."

—Action by Churches Together

Relief groups are expanding their response in Peru after Saturday's earthquake left more than 20,000 people homeless and coping with midwinter temperatures.

Thousands of people are sleeping outside because of the danger of falling debris as aftershocks continue. Many roadways were still blocked Wednesday by landslides.

Relief groups were reaching quake survivors with tents, food, and warm

clothing. Temperatures in Peru's Andes Mountains have dropped to the

sub-zero level.

The quake killed more than 100 people and injured some 1,500. According to

reports from Action by Churches Together (ACT), some 40,000 houses were

destroyed, and shelter is one of the most urgent needs.

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.

ACT member Lutheran World Relief

(LWR) continues to receive reports of

damage from remote areas. LWR made an initial grant of $10,000 for

earthquake relief, and is planning further assistance for isolated regions

unlikely to receive aid from other sources.

A Southern Baptist missionary team is offering spiritual support for quake

survivors and are assessing needs. A $10,000 grant has been made available

for those teams to help meet emergency needs.

According to ACT, most of the houses in the impacted area were built from

adobe and did not withstand the quake. Landslides have also affected

irrigation channels and agriculture.

ACT indicated that, to meet emergency needs, some $300,000 is needed to

purchase temporary shelters, tools, blankets, and mattresses.

International Aid is sending a shipment of medicine, hygiene kits, medical

supplies, and blankets.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency has expanded its response

and is distributing relief supplies to 1,000 families.

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


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.

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


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.

Related Topics:

Changes could reduce OK 'quakes

CA overdue for major 'quake

Oregon ill-prepared for a 'big one'

More links on Earthquakes

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