No tsunami threat after magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes Peru coast

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Peru (The Independent)
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Peru (The Independent)

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck near the coast of Peru during the early hours of Friday, prompting authorities to briefly issue a tsunami warning.

At least three quakes hit near the coast of central Peru over a period of 10 minutes around 12.36am local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had issued an alert warning of “possible” tsunami waves reaching up to 1 to 3m above the tide level along some parts of the coast. The tsunami warnings were later withdrawn.

The most recent temblor struck around 8km west of Atiquipa, south of the capital Lima near the borders of Chile and Bolivia. It was about 28km deep.

The quakes, which also rocked the capital, brought down walls, triggered landslides and caused power outages near the epicentre.

“The children were crying, the earthquake was felt strongly," a villager was quoted as saying by AFP.

At least eight people suffered injuries but there has been no report of deaths so far. The health ministry said a hospital in Acari town near the epicentre treated five people with minor injuries.

The Peruvian government said on social media it was monitoring “to assess the damage and determine the actions to be taken”.

The city of Arequipa was hit by four aftershocks of 4 to 4.6 magnitude, causing some landslides on local roads.

Prime minister Gustavo Adrianzen said: "I want to convey tranquility. The earthquake has passed, we are making the first evaluations, and so far there are no fatalities to lament."

Carlos Zanabria, an adviser to the regional government of Arequipa, told local radio station RPP, that material damage had been reported in some districts and residents had left their homes in fear, but he had heard no reports of death or injury.

Flavio Aranguren, the mayor of the Yauca district in the province of Caraveli, said some walls of houses in the area had collapsed. He also said no fatalities had been reported.

There were power and telephone line outages in areas near the epicenter of the earthquake, said Ricardo Guillen, the representative of the National Emergency Operations Centre.

Ecuador and Peru are part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an extensive area that surrounds the Pacific Ocean where clashes between the continental plates are frequent.