Photo: Peruvian earthquake
The magnitude-6.9 earthquake that struck the southern Peruvian region of Arequipa left six people injured, President Ollanta Humala said Wednesday, announcing his immediate return to the Andean nation to deal with the situation.
“We’re accelerating (our) activities to be able to travel as soon as possible, probably tomorrow,” he told RPP radio from New York, where he traveled this week for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly.
“Fortunately, what calms us down is that there have been no victims to mourn and at this time the government is already acting,” the president said.
“They have informed us that, God willing, there are no victims to mourn. There are some injured, ... apparently six people,” he said.
Humala added that in the town of Acari, where the epicenter of the quake was located, “there are electricity problems, there have been landslides of stones and earth that have blocked stretches of the highway, but they have begun to be removed.”
“I want to tell the people of Arequipa from here that we are following this situation,” he said before declaring, in conclusion, that “it is not, at this time, a situation that is not under control.”
The quake struck at 11:42 a.m. Wednesday and was felt as far away as Lima.
The director of School 40262 in Acari, Nilhuar Escobedo, told RPP that the quake broke windows and cracked walls in several classrooms and an auditorium.
In the Chala district part of the Panamericana Sur highway collapsed, preventing traffic from moving along a 2-kilometer (1.25-mile) stretch of that important roadway, police said.
According to the Peruvian Geophysical Institute, the quake’s epicenter was situated 30 kilometers (19 miles) below the earth’s surface.
In addition, the capital daily El Comercio reported on its Web site that landslides had occurred on the slopes of the Chachani volcano in Arequipa.
Peru’s last major temblor, a magnitude-7.9 quake, occurred in 2007, killing some 500 people and causing billions of dollars in damage and economic losses.