67 Dead, Hundreds Injured in Peru : 6.0 Temblor Wrecks Many Homes; Cathedral Roof Caves In
A powerful earthquake jolted Peru’s northeastern jungle, killing at least 67 people, injuring hundreds, wrecking dozens of homes and causing the roof of a cathedral to cave in, Civil Defense authorities said today.
Thirty-five of the deaths Tuesday night occurred in Moyobamba, a town of 50,000 people 400 miles north of Lima, officials said. The other dead were from villages in nearby jungle areas, they said.
The quake, with a magnitude of at least 6.0, occurred at 9:33 p.m. (7:33 p.m. PDT) Tuesday and lasted 48 seconds, according to the Peruvian Geophysical Institute.
The epicenter was in the Amazon jungle 450 miles northeast of Lima, it said.
Shocks from the quake were felt as far away as 300 miles from the epicenter, shaking buildings in the coastal cities of Trujillo, Chepen, Pacasmayo, Chiclayo and Piura.
Many houses and buildings in Moyobamba were destroyed, including a downtown cathedral, according to Gen. Jorge Ferreyro, Peru’s Civil Defense chief.
He said the number of injured was “considerable.”
Electricity and telephone lines were completely cut in the region, Ferreyro said.
Moyobamba has few doctors, and authorities there asked the government to send in medical staff, medicine and generators to help tend the hundreds of injured. Health Minister Paul Caro Gamarra said an air force plane was to leave for Moyobamba carrying doctors and emergency supplies.
Health department workers have been on a nationwide strike for two months, but a union official in Lima said today that workers were helping with emergency plans.
The institute said the area suffered at least 20 aftershocks, including one shortly after midnight that registered 4.8 on the Richter scale.
The temblor came two days before the 20th anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed 70,000 people in northern Andes Mountains. That quake had a recorded magnitude of 7.7. An estimated 20,000 people in Yungay were buried in mud and ice that came crashing down from a nearby mountain.
Mateo Casaverde, chief of the Geophysics Institute, said he does not believe that Tuesday night’s quake was related to those affecting other parts of the world almost simultaneously, such as Eastern Europe.