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Scores injured in Peruvian earthquake

31 january 2012, 18:47
People wait for medical assistance after an earthquake. ©AFP
People wait for medical assistance after an earthquake. ©AFP
A powerful earthquake injured scores of people, buckled buildings and caused power outages on the coast south of Lima early Monday, with no immediate reports of fatalities, AFP reports citing officials.

The epicenter of the magnitude 6.3 quake, which struck eleven minutes after midnight Sunday (0511 GMT Monday), was 23 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of the city of Ica, the US Geological Survey said.

Memories are still fresh of the powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Ica region on August 15, 2007, killing more than 500 people and injured about 200,000.

While residents remain jittery, there were no known fatalities on Monday, Civil Defense officials said.

However at 145 people were injured and most were taken to hospitals, though the injuries were mostly minor, the Health Ministry said.

The quake also destroyed 125 homes and damaged 581 buildings, said the Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) in its latest report.

Most people were injured when they fled their homes in panic, or when they were struck by collapsing walls, said Raul Huaman with the Ica Regional Hospital.

Among the damaged buildings was the Cathedral of Ica, which had already been damaged in a 2007 earthquake.

The jolt caused people to flee their homes in Ica, the port of Pisco, and the towns of Palpa, Nasca and Canete. Dozens of Ica residents spent the night in parks and gardens fearing aftershocks.

The quake epicenter depth was 39 kilometers (24 miles), according to the USGS.

The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

Peru is in the "Pacific Ring of Fire," which is the site of 85 percent of global seismic activity.

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