Lima, Aug 15: A moderate 5.2-magnitude earthquake in Peru killed at least nine people including a US tourist and left 52 injured, crushing villagers under rubble and blocking roads, officials said on Monday (Aug 15).
The quake knocked down about 50 homes and cut off roads and power in the southern Arequipa region. The governor of Arequipa, Yamila Osorio, said on the radio that three people were reported killed in Achoma and six in another village, Yanque.
"It was tragic. They got wounded people out as best they could," said Yanque resident John Rivera on RPP radio. "There were no lights, no beds. The electricity has got cut off. We still have water but we don't know what will happen next."
The civil defence service said one of the victims was a 66-year-old American who died in a hotel in Yanque that was badly damaged. Earthquakes are fairly common in Peru but this one hit at a shallow depth of eight kilometers last night so damage could be heavy near the epicentre.
The epicentre was 10 kilometers from the city of Chivay, capital of Caylloma province, according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru. Several aftershocks hit today. The quake caused damage throughout an area of Arequipa called the Colca Valley, and several villages have been cut off. "We felt a very strong tremor. It has caused devastation in the whole Colca valley," the mayor of Caylloma, Romulo Tinta, told RPP.
"We have no communication links between the surrounding villages," he added. "We are asking for heavy machinery to gain access." Osorio, the governor of Arequipa, called for food and clothing to be airlifted to people left homeless by the quake.
"We are taking aid to Caylloma and the other districts affected by the earthquake," Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said in a message on Twitter. More than 80 homes have been left uninhabitable, but crews cannot reach the epicentre, Osorio said.
"We will have to declare an emergency in this zone," said Prime Minister Fernando Zavala. Among the worst-hit spots was Yanque, a rural village of mud huts with some 1,200 inhabitants.