Peru's government has appealed for calm as relief workers try to deliver aid to survivors of a massive earthquake that killed at least 500 people. In Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports that immigrant groups in the United States are gathering donations and other supplies to send to the region.
Peru's President Alan Garcia promised residents that relief aid is coming to towns along the nation's central coast that were hit by Wednesday's quake. The Peruvian leader began a tour of the disaster zone Thursday, where the 8.0 magnitude quake toppled buildings and mud-brick homes.
Some survivors have complained that relief supplies have been slow in arriving. Damage to highways, roads and power systems has impeded their delivery.
Rescue efforts have also been hampered by a series of strong aftershocks in the region, including a 5.9 magnitude quake early Friday. Officials said they were continuing to search for survivors in the rubble, but that time was running out to find people alive.
In Miami, Latin American community groups began appealing for donations of canned food, medicine, warm clothing and blankets for survivors. Carlos Pereira, head of the Immigration Orientation Center, which provides assistance to immigrants, said his group plans to send supplies on a chartered flight to central Peru on Tuesday. He added that Peruvian immigrants in Miami have been calling his group asking for information about family members in Peru.
Pereira says it is important to remain calm and patient in this situation and find ways to help.
In Washington, the United States has released $150,000 for emergency supplies, and is providing two medical teams. The Pentagon said one of the teams was on the ground in Peru when the disaster occurred and has begun working with Peruvian officials to assist survivors.