337 are Dead! 200 die when church collapses during mass!

La Republica reports “Two Minutes of Terror” on today’s front page.

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake blasted Peru last night.
There were 337 confirmed deaths and that number is expected to rise.

The BBC has video of the aftermath- HERE.

A view of a building on fire after an earthquake struck Rimac district in Peru, August 15, 2007. The massive earthquake hit Peru on Wednesday evening and officials said hundreds of people were killed in the rubble of collapsed homes and a church as rescuers searched for victims early on Thursday. (REUTERS/Andina)


The New York Times has this on the tragedy:

At least 200 people in Pisco in southern Peru were crushed under the rubble of a church that collapsed during a religious service, The Associated Press reported, citing the mayor of Pisco, Juan Mendoza Uribe.

Mr. Mendoza Uribe said 70 percent of Pisco, a port city of about 60,000 people located 135 miles south of Lima, was leveled by the quake.

El Peruano reported this morning that dozens of families spent the night in parks and streets of Lima. There was a similar situation in the city of Ica, near the epicenter of the earthquake.

Authorities believe that the death toll will rise above the 337 confirmed deaths after the strongest earthquake in decades hit Peru last night.
Reuters reported:

Rescuers searched collapsed homes and churches in Peru on Thursday for more victims of a massive earthquake that killed hundreds, cracked and cut off roadways and left thousands without power.

Peru’s civil defense agency said at least 337 people perished and 1,300 were injured in the 7.9-magnitude quake and the death toll was expected to rise.

Many people were forced to sleep outside in the hardest-hit region of Ica on the coast south of the capital, Lima. The area was hit by several strong aftershocks.

The huge tremor cracked highways and cut power and telephones. Rockslides blocked some roads, as well.

“The first impression of the team is that damage is severe, especially to houses,” said Giorgio Ferrario, the South America representative for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“We know for the moment, according to local authorities, that at least 35O people are dead, but the toll will certainly rise as search and rescue operations continue,” he said.

Map locating the epicentre of 7.9 magnitude quake that hit southern Peru Wednesday. The death toll from Peru’s powerful earthquake has climbed to at least 337, civil defense officials have said.(AFP/Graphic/Martin Megino)

A man examines a collapsed wall in Lima’s San Juan de Lurigancho district 15 Aug. A powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake, the strongest to rock Peru in decades, killed at least 115 people and injured more than 1,000 others Wednesday, Health Minister Carlos Vallejos said Thursday(AFP/APN)

Pajamas Media is following the devastating news.
Blogs of War is tracking the tsunami factor- via Instapundit.

Just last month, the Peruvian government announced that half a million were lifted out of poverty thanks to the governments development. Sadly, the government did not plan on this disaster.

The Pope offered his prayers for the people of Peru.

Update: Scientists now claim that this quake was thought to be the strongest anywhere in the world since 1990.
An earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 that registered 7.6 on the richter scale killed 73,276.

The death toll in Peru now tops 350.

UPDATE 2: The death toll now stands at 450.

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