Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006



7.9 QUAKE KILLS AT LEAST 47, INJURES HUNDREDS IN PERU
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Hollywood, Calif.

Printable version of this story

AREQUIPA, Peru, June 24, 2001 -- One of the most powerful earthquakes ev= er to hit the Western Hemisphere struck the "white city" of Arequipa, Peru,=

on Saturday afternoon, terrifying residents who felt the entire city shake= and watched a tower on one the nation's oldest cathedrals crumble to the g= round. At least 47 people died and many hundreds more were injured.

"I felt a movement of the earth and I saw the tower of one of thechurche= s fall and a huge cloud of dust arise. I could hardly breathe. The people= began to cry and pray to God that it would stop," said Dr.Eduardo Luna, th= e son of Mireya Shea, wife of this reporter, when reached by phone around 1= a.m. (PST) Sunday morning, or 4 a.m. local time.

"We have felt more than 30 aftershocks since the first quake," Dr.Luna s= aid. The young physician said people were sleeping in the streetsas the tr= emors continued throughout the night.

It is midwinter in Peru, and the city 7,670 feet above sea level. Pre= sident Valentin Paniagua was said to be enroute with 22 tons of food, blank= ets and medicine, and newly-elected President Alejandro Toledo, who takes o= ffice July 28, cancelled a planned trip to the United States to fly to Areq= uipa today.

The earthquake's epicenter was about 16 miles south of the colonial city= of Arequipa, founded in 1540, where hundreds of houses fell and many other= s were damaged. Dr. Luna said his family's home suffered a broken window b= ut little else. "We were lucky that we didn't suffer worse," Dr. Luna said= . He was half a block from Plaza de Armas in thecenter of the city when = the earthquake struck.

Among the most severe casualties of the quake were hundreds ofhomes of t= raditional adobe construction, reports from the region and Dr.Luna said. =

Arequipa, whose population today is near 1 million, was completely destro= yed by an earthquake in 1600, and the 1656 cathedral so badly damaged Satur= day was rebuilt after it was destroyed by a quake in 1868. Major earthqua= kes struck in 1687, 1868, 1958 and 1960, but none were asstrong as Saturday= 's.

Mireya Shea assisted in research for this story.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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