Peru earthquake: Ecuador offers help as tremors rocks south

Image copyright EPA Image caption ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the government, with the people of Peru’

Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra has said he and his administration are ready to offer help and support to those affected by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake.

No reports of casualties or damage had emerged after the quake which struck at 18:00 (17:00 GMT) on Monday.

Mr Vizcarra said he had spoken to the Ecuadoran government to request information on possible damage.

About 11 million people in Peru and Ecuador were either without power or without access to water, according to the UN.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the government, with the people of Peru and this Ecuadoran government,” Mr Vizcarra said.

He added that officials would be monitoring any damage to property and public buildings.

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The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the earthquake, which struck at a depth of 47km (28 miles), was the strongest to hit Ecuador in decades and the fourth worst on record in South America.

The USGS said that the earthquake hit at a shallow depth of less than six kilometres and its epicentre was about 26km east of the town of Puno in the Peruvian Andes.

A quake of that strength is considered strong enough to trigger a tsunami

The quake prompted concern at a major coal mine in Peru, the Canadian-based miner Wheaton Precious Metals said on its website.

Guarantee has been requested by the Peru Emergency Management Agency to block access to and from the plant, Wheaton Precious Metals said.

The company also said that railway access from the mine has been temporarily restricted to mitigate risks.

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For a country so small, Ecuador has suffered numerous earthquakes

One of the USGS’s estimates was that 1.6m people may have been affected.

Mr Vizcarra thanked Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno for his preparedness and urged the country to be ready for any eventuality.

Ecuador’s Energy Minister Carlos Perez said authorities were mobilising their “full resources” to offer assistance.

A maximum of four big buildings were destroyed in the town of Manabi – including a church – Mr Perez said, adding that only minor injuries were reported.

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A woman died in southern Ecuador after being hit by falling debris from a wall, the government said.

Authorities in Peru sent soldiers to help with relief efforts.

In Quito, an earthquake was felt from some suburbs on the west of the capital to the coastal areas near the port city of Manta, but no damage or injuries were reported.

The country has been hit by dozens of tremors in recent months, including a major tremor on 10 July.

Images posted on social media showed buildings in one area partially collapsed, surrounded by rubble.

The same tremor, recorded at magnitude 7.7, damaged thousands of homes in Ecuador.

Other earthquakes have struck Peru in recent months, including one at magnitude 7.3 on 17 June, which caused fatalities.

Last year, over 50 people were killed and much of the city of Iquitos was left without power when two quakes hit Peru’s north-east, both at magnitude 6.0.

Just over 30 people were killed in two earthquakes in April 2018 in northern Peru.

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