News24

Massive damage after Lima quake

2012-01-31 08:41

Lima - A powerful earthquake injured scores of people, buckled buildings and caused power outages on the coast south of Lima early on Monday, with no immediate reports of fatalities, officials said.

The epicentre of the magnitude 6.3 quake, which struck eleven minutes after midnight on Sunday, was 23km southeast of the city of Ica, the US Geological Survey said.

Memories are still fresh of the powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Ica region on August 15 2007, killing more than 500 people and injured about 200 000.

While residents remain jittery, there were no known fatalities on Monday, Civil Defence officials said.

However, at least 145 people were injured and most were taken to hospitals, though the injuries were mostly minor, the Health Ministry said.

Panic

The quake also destroyed 125 homes and damaged 581 buildings, said the Civil Defence Institute (INDECI) in its latest report.

Most people were injured when they fled their homes in panic, or when they were struck by collapsing walls, said Raul Huaman with the Ica Regional Hospital.

Among the damaged buildings was the Cathedral of Ica, which had already been damaged in a 2007 earthquake.

The jolt caused people to flee their homes in Ica, the port of Pisco, and the towns of Palpa, Nasca and Canete. Dozens of Ica residents spent the night in parks and gardens fearing aftershocks.

The quake epicentre depth was 39km, according to the USGS.

The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

Peru is in the "Pacific Ring of Fire," which is the site of 85% of global seismic activity.