Quake Kills Hundreds in Peru

A massive magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck southern Peru on Wednesday, killing at least 510 people (revised) and injuring more than a thousand more. The disastrous tremors set pavement rippling and lasted for several minutes, followed by four aftershocks ranging from 5.4 to 5.9. Updated on 8/17.

AP via Yahoo! (update):

In the gritty port city of Pisco, searchers at San Clemente church pulled at least 60 bodies out of the ruins and lined them up on the plaza. Doctors struggled to help more than 1,500 injured, including hundreds who waited on cots in the open air, fearing more aftershocks would send buildings crashing down.

Peru’s fire department said the death toll from the magnitude-8 quake that devastated the southern coast had risen to 510, and rescuers were still digging through ruins of collapsed adobe homes in cities and hamlets.

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Hospitals are reported to be overwhelmed by the number of casualties. A cameraman for the Associated Press said the floors of the hospital in Chincha were covered with dead bodies.

The mayor of Ica, Mariano Nacimiento, said he had asked the government for medicine, blankets, tents and all help that could be given. The weather in the region is very cold at the moment.

Rescuers have struggled to reach Ica, however, as parts of the Pan-American Highway have been blocked by huge cracks in the tarmac and fallen power lines.

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