At least four people were killed in northern Peru late on Sunday when a strong earthquake shook the region, local authorities announced. But they said they expected damage from the tremor to be limited.
The tremor measuring seven on the Richter scale shook an area north of the city of Moyobamba at 8.55pm (1:55am GMT on Monday), according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru. US experts said the quake had a magnitude of 7,5.
The epicentre of the quake was located about 115km underground and therefore it did not produce significant damage, scientists said.
”The quakes that occur at such depths are usually felt far in the Andean region,” explained Hernando Tavera, a spokesperson for the institute. ”But they usually generate just a jolt that does not cause extensive damage on the surface.”
However, the quake proved to be strong enough to destroy at least 10 houses in the community of Lamas, officials said.
The victims were found under the rubble of one of these homes.
Power was knocked out in most local communities. Residents of the town of San Martin converged on their central plaza and said they will spend the night outside for fear of aftershocks, local radio reported.
The earthquake was also registered in southern Colombia, where authorities were checking on damage late on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the United States Geological Survey released a different assessment of the seismic event.
The government service said the quake was stronger and measured 7,5 on the Richter scale. It also placed its epicentre 75km northeast of Moyobamba and its depth 85,4km.
The survey warned in a statement that ”this earthquake may have caused substantial damage and casualties due to its location and size”. – AFP