A massive magnitude 7.1 earthquake was reported off the coast of southern Peru on Sunday morning resulting in the death of at least one person and injuring several others. According to ABS-CBN News, the earthquake, one of the strongest to hit the country in recent times, also resulted in the destruction of homes and roads. The true extent of the damage caused by the earthquake, however, is yet to be ascertained. Earlier reports had suggested that at least two deaths had taken place. Peruvian authorities, however, later revealed that there had been only one confirmed death. There were also reports of more than 17 workers trapped and missing inside a mine. This, however, is yet to be confirmed.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake was epicentered in the Pacific Ocean, around 40 kilometers from the town of Acari. Initial reports say that the quake took place at a depth of 36 km under the sea-bed at around 4:18 a.m. local time. According to a senior government official, the only confirmed death caused by the quake was a 55-year-old man who was killed in the town of Yauca. He was reportedly crushed by a rock. According to Jorge Chavez, chief of Peru’s Civil Defense Institute, more than 65 injuries were reported. Chavez had earlier talked about the death of a second individual but later backtracked on his statement.
“The victim reportedly found in Bella Union has not been confirmed. officially, we only have one death,” Chavez said.
He went on to add that the damage caused to roads is impending rescue operations. Rescue workers are being flown in from neighboring cities and provinces. Meanwhile, the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said he would travel to the towns of Acari and Chala “to verify the magnitude of the damages and send the corresponding humanitarian aid.” At the time of filing this story, several towns were without electricity. A series of aftershocks resulted in several towns being evacuated.
The earthquake was also felt in northern Chile. However, Chile’s National Emergency offices reported no damage or injuries. The Chilean navy confirmed that the earthquake did not cause a tsunami. This statement was corroborated by scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) who confirmed that the conditions of the earthquake were not favorable to cause a destructive tsunami.
The last major earthquake in Peru happened on August 15, 2016, when a magnitude 5.1 tremor left four people dead.