Shallow earthquake in Peru kills at least four, including elderly US tourist

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 9:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 9:54am

A shallow, magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook southern Peru’s picturesque Colca Valley, killing at least four people, including a US tourist, and injuring 52 as it toppled adobe homes, authorities said Monday.

The quake hit at 9.58pm local time Sunday near the town of Chivay, which is north of the city of Arequipa, with an epicenter just 10km deep, the US Geological Survey said.

A 65-year-old US man died at the Eco Inn Valle del Colca in Yanque, close to Chivay, when part of the hotel’s ceiling collapsed on him, local Governor Cipriano Llasa said.

“His body is inside the hotel because the highways are blocked and the prosecutor has not arrived,” Llasa said by phone.

The victim’s identity could not immediately be confirmed.

The walls and roofs of dozens of adobe homes in Yanque collapsed in the quake, Llasa said. “A lot of irrigation canals are destroyed, too.”

He said the only way to evacuate the injured was by helicopter.

Yanque is an hour’s drive from a famed condor-watching outlook that is popular with foreign tourists.

Peru’s last major earthquake, of magnitude 7.9, hit on August 15, 2007, and killed nearly 600 people in the coastal city of Pisco.