LIMA – The Peruvian government officially lowered the casualty count to one dead and 65 injured in the magnitude-7.1 earthquake – as measured by the US Geological Survey (USGS) – that struck the southern part of the country early Sunday morning.
At a press conference, the head of the Council of Ministers, Mercedes Araoz, said that one person was confirmed dead in the southern Arequipa region, along with 45 people seriously injured and 20 more with slight injuries.
Initially, the head of the National Civil Defense Institute (Indeci), Jorge Chavez, had told local media that two people had died – one in Chala district and another in Bella Union.
During the press conference, Chavez said that two aftershocks – measuring 3.8 and 3.7 on the Richter scale – were felt in the towns of Lomas and Chala, both in Arequipa.
There, he said, 63 homes were destroyed, 130 people suffered property damage and roadways in the Atico and Yauca areas were blocked by debris in the quake.
Chavez also said that four schools and a hospital were damaged in the towns of Cora Cora and Puquio, in neighboring Ayacucho province, where there were 38 people injured and 53 who suffered property damage.
In the adjacent region of Ica, 10 injuries were reported and one road was blocked by landslides in the Nazca zone.
Chavez said authorities were conducting a thorough damage assessment and would offer a detailed report in the coming hours on quake-related casualties and material consequences.
Araoz said that the government will declare an emergency in the area to facilitate “immediate actions,” such as the reconstruction of homes and work to clear roadways of earth, stones and other debris.
Health Minister Abel Salinas said that a report that miners had gone missing in a mine in Arequipa had been discounted and all health centers were “operational” throughout the affected area.
Although the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake as a magnitude-7.1, the Geophysical Institute of Peru put the temblor at 6.8, saying that its epicenter was 56 km (35 mi.) off the coast of the Arequipa town of Lomas and 48 km (30 mi.) below the earth’s surface.
According to the USGS, the quake struck at a depth of 36.3 kilometers (22.6 miles) and no tsunami alert has been activated so far. It had earlier listed the earthquake as magnitude-7.3.
Authorities in Chile also ruled out the possibility of quake-triggered tsunami affecting the coasts of that neighboring country.
The temblor was felt in the Peruvian capital of Lima and several other cities across the country.