A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked the coast of southern Peru on Sunday, January 14, leaving at least one person dead in Yauca (Arequipa region) and 65 others injured in the cities of Arequipa (Arequipa region), Ica (Ica region), and Ayacucho (Ayacucho region). According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck approximately 40 km (25 mi) south-southwest of Acarí (Arequipa region) in the Pacific Ocean around 04:18 (local time). The earthquake briefly prompted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to issue a tsunami warning for Peru's coastal areas; the warning has since been rescinded, and there is no related tsunami warning, watch, and advisory currently in effect.
Among the areas most affected by the earthquake are the towns of Chala and Acarí (Arequipa region), where between both towns some 100 houses reportedly collapsed. Power outages have been reported in several municipalities in Arequipa and Ica regions; several roads were also damaged in the affected regions. Though it is currently unclear when associated disruptions will abate, Prime Minister Mercedes Aráoz said Sunday that a state of emergency would be declared in the affected regions to expedite the reconstruction of damaged homes and roads. Airports and seaports in southern Peru sustained minimal damages and are operating as scheduled. Many people were evacuated from Puerto de Lomas (Arequipa region) after an aftershock shook the area on Sunday morning. Additional aftershocks are possible and continued power and transportation disruptions are expected in the affected areas in the coming hours and days.
Though earthquakes are common in Peru, few homes are constructed to endure strong shaking. The structural shortcomings of such construction consequently increase the risk of building collapse and the overall lethality of earthquakes in the country.
An earthquake notably killed hundreds of people in Ica region in 2007.
Individuals present in the impacted regions are advised to monitor the situation, to be prepared for aftershocks, and to heed to any instructions issued by local authorities.
In the event of aftershocks, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), to move away from windows, and to not attempt to leave the building unless there is an immediate danger. If outdoors, move away from tall buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.
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