Church Reacts Quickly to Major Peru Earthquake


The Church worked closely with government leaders and other emergency response organizations to identify and meet urgent needs in Peru after a devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck just off the coast on the evening of Wednesday, August 15, 2007, killing hundreds and leaving more than 1,500 people injured.

Early reports confirmed seven Church members were dead and more were injured. More than 70 member homes were among the thousands of homes destroyed by the earthquake. No Church buildings were destroyed, but many received damage.

Under the direction of the South America West Area Presidency, Church members immediately responded to those in need. Limited food was provided to four meetinghouses that temporarily housed more than 600 Church members, relatives, and neighbors. The Area Presidency members visited the affected areas to provide support.

Small truckloads of food were sent to each meetinghouse early the following morning. Within 36 hours the Church was loading a 747 cargo plane at the Salt Lake International Airport with urgently needed items, including medical supplies, surgical instruments, family food boxes, hygiene kits, and tarps.

The hardest hit areas were the cities of Ica and Pisco. Authorities in Pisco estimated that more than 70 percent of the city had been destroyed.

Rescue teams trying to get to Ica, Pisco, and other rural towns southwest of Lima, the capital, found roads broken up and power knocked out. Hospitals reported the number of injured was overwhelming.

The earthquake was centered 25 miles west-northwest of Chincha Alta, 90 miles south-southeast of Lima, and about 25 miles below the earth’s surface. The major quake prompted a tsunami warning, but this was later canceled.

The earthquake was felt nearly 100 miles from its epicenter. Dozens of severe aftershocks continued into Thursday. Most of these measured well above 5.0, and the strongest registered 6.3.

[photo] Residents of Pisco, Peru, wait outside their homes, which were ruined by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake on August 16. (Photograph by Rolly Reyna, Associated Press.)