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Shallow 5.3 Quake in Southern Peru Kills at Least 4

  • Reuters

A 5.3 magnitude shallow earthquake killed at least four people, including a U.S. tourist, and injured dozens when it rocked a copper-producing region popular with trekkers late on Sunday, authorities said.

The quake struck just 8 kilometers (5 miles) deep in the Caylloma province of the Andean region Arequipa and at least five aftershocks shook the region anew on Monday, the Geophysical Institute of Peru said. The USGS reported the earthquake as having a 5.4 magnitude.

Hundreds of houses, many made of adobe, collapsed as the tremor downed electrical distribution and phone lines in several towns, the National Civil Defense Institute (Indeci) said.

Irrigation canals, health clinics, schools and highways were also damaged.

A 66-year-old U.S. man staying at a hotel in the town of Yanque was among the four confirmed casualties, according to Indeci.

The Caylloma province is home to Peru's Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world and a draw for trekkers.

Copper mines in Arequipa operated by Southern Copper and Freeport McMoRan were unaffected by the quake, representatives of both companies said.

Vice President Martin Vizcarra traveled to Caylloma to oversee the distribution of humanitarian aid as the government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski prepared to declare an emergency in the region, state news agency Andina reported.

Local authorities were setting up tents in town squares and soup kitchens to help families left homeless, Indeci said.

The quake struck a day before the ninth anniversary of a 2007 earthquake in Peru that killed hundreds in the region of Ica.

Earthquakes are common in Peru, but many homes are built with precarious materials that cannot withstand them.