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Monday, July 15, 2024

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes southern Peru

The region frequently experiences earthquakes due to the interaction between the South American plate and the Nazca plate.

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck off the southern coast of Peru early Friday morning. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake occurred at a depth of 28 kilometers (17 miles) and was centered 8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Atiquipa, approximately 600 kilometers (372 miles) south of the capital, Lima.

Immediate Reactions

Residents in Atiquipa and surrounding areas experienced a significant and prolonged tremor. Many reported their beds shaking and structures swaying. CCTV footage from the nearby town of Caraveli captured the violent shaking, prompting people to rush out of their homes in alarm. The earthquake was felt as far as Lima, where residents shared videos on social media showing lamps swaying and buildings shaking.

Read More: Archaeologists discover Callacpuma’s ancient ceremonial plaza in Peru

Casualties and Medical Response

Authorities confirmed that eight people were injured as a result of the earthquake. Five of the injured received medical attention in hospitals within the Ica region, while three others were treated for minor injuries in a hospital in the neighboring Arequipa region. Despite the injuries, no fatalities have been reported, according to Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen.

“We are just finishing analyzing the preliminary reports which tell us that there are no deaths, and we are monitoring the impact on infrastructures,” Adrianzen stated, reassuring the public during a radio interview with RPP.

Structural Damage 

In the southern town of Yauca, Mayor Flavio Aranguren reported that some walls had collapsed, and significant cracks appeared in major highways running through the area. Despite these damages, no fatalities were recorded. The region also experienced several aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 4.0 to 4.6, causing additional landslides and minor structural damage.

Government and Emergency Response

The Peruvian government responded promptly, monitoring the situation and evaluating potential damages. The Peruvian Presidency assured the public via social media that they were assessing the damage and determining necessary actions. Ricardo Guillen, a representative of the National Emergency Operations Centre, reported power and telephone line outages near the earthquake’s epicenter.

Tsunami Threat 

Initially, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) issued an alert warning of possible tsunami waves ranging from 1 to 3 meters along some coastal areas in Peru. This prompted immediate concerns and safety measures. However, the PTWC later retracted the alert, stating there was no longer a tsunami threat. “There is no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake,” the PTWC confirmed.

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Peru is situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for its intense seismic activity. The region frequently experiences earthquakes due to the interaction between the South American plate and the Nazca plate. This latest earthquake is a stark reminder of the persistent geological threats faced by countries along this volatile boundary. Peru, with a population of about 33 million, endures hundreds of detectable quakes annually.