- The Washington Times - Monday, September 26, 2005


LIMA, Peru - A powerful earthquake hit northern Peru late Sunday, causing power outages and cutting phone service throughout much of the region. At least one person was killed, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.5 and struck at 8:55 p.m. It was centered 50 miles northeast of the jungle city of Moyobamba — about 445 miles north of the capital, Lima.

“Several houses have fallen down, and there are several people dead,” Carlos Mori, who lives near Moyobamba in the town of Lamas, told Radioprogramas. “All of the residents of Lamas are in the streets. Most of the people are helping.”

Mr. Mori said about 20 houses collapsed and that four persons were dead.

But Napoleon Salazar, a regional official, said one person was killed in Lamas and nine were injured. A policeman in Lamas also said there was only one death, adding that eight houses were destroyed and about 30 damaged.

A police officer in Tarapota, another town near Moyobamba, told Radioprogramas the power had gone out there and that there was some damage to buildings, but no deaths to report.

The quake knocked out power in the northern coastal city of Chiclayo, 410 miles northwest of Lima. Airline Lan Peru reported that a passenger jet aborted its landing at the Chiclayo airport because there were no lights on the runway. The plane flew directly to Lima.

In Yurimaguas, 50 miles northwest of Lamas, police reported some damage but no deaths.

The earthquake was felt throughout Peru’s northern coast and as far away as Bogota, Colombia.

“So far we have received no reports of any injuries or material damage,” said Kelly Castano, a spokeswoman for Colombia’s National Seismology Center.

It was one of the strongest earthquakes in Peru since a devastating 8.1-magnitude temblor hit Arequipa province in southern Peru in June 2001, killing at least 75 persons and leaving tens of thousands homeless. A magnitude-7.6 aftershock struck the southern Andes on July 7, 2001, but did not cause injuries or serious damage.

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