News World Deadly earthquake shakes southern Peru, killing one
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Deadly earthquake shakes southern Peru, killing one

Peru earthquake
Officials says they can only confirm one death from an earthquake off Peru's coast; however, homes and roads have collapsed, with dozens injured. Photo: AAP
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A strong magnitude 7.1 earthquake off the coast of southern Peru has killed one and injured several dozen, and caused homes and roads to collapse.

Authorities walked back earlier statements that a second person had died and that 17 people were missing in a mine, signs that the human toll of the quake may not be as drastic as previously feared.

The quake hit offshore on Sunday at 4.18am local time at a depth of around 36km, the US Geological Survey said. The epicentre was in the Pacific Ocean 40km from the town of Acari.

Arequipa governor Yamila Osorio said on Twitter that a 55-year-old man died in the town of Yauca after being crushed by rock. Jorge Chavez, chief of Peru’s Civil Defence Institute, told local radio station RPP that 65 people were injured but withdrew his earlier statement that a second person had died in the town of Bella Union.

“The victim reportedly found in Bella Union has not been confirmed,” Mr Chavez said. “Officially, we only have one death.”

Peru earthquake
A map showing the location of a magnitude-7.1 earthquake off the coast of Peru. Photo: USGS

Mr Chavez said damage to roads was impeding help from arriving to the most-affected zones, which are mainly rural and remote. Aid workers and supplies would be flown in from nearby cities, he added.

On Twitter, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said he would travel to the towns of Acari and Chala “to verify the magnitude of the damages and send the corresponding humanitarian aid”.

Health Minister Abel Salinas Rivas told RPP that rescue workers spoke with representatives of the informal Estrella mine and confirmed that no one was missing from there. Mr Rivas had said earlier that 17 people were missing after the mine east of Chala suffered damages following the quake.

Several municipalities were without electricity, and many roads and adobe houses had collapsed, Osorio said. Many residents of Lomas, a coastal town, were evacuated after feeling an aftershock.

Peruvian maritime authorities said the quake did not produce a tsunami on the coast.

The quake was also felt in northern Chile, Peru’s southern neighbour.

Chile’s National Emergency offices said there were no reports of injuries, damage to infrastructure, or interruption of basic services. The nation’s navy said the quake did not meet the conditions that would produce a tsunami off its coast.