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Strong earthquake shakes Peru's capital Lima

By AFP - Jun 23,2021 - Last updated at Jun 23,2021

LIMA — A strong earthquake shook Lima and regions of central coastal Peru late Tuesday, causing fear among the population and some damage, but no deaths or serious injuries.

Peru's Seismological Center said the quake was magnitude 6 and 32 kilometres deep, while the US Geological Survey recorded the magnitude as 5.8.

"It was one of the strongest earthquakes that has been felt in Lima in past years," said Hernando Tavera, head of Peru's Geophysical Institute (IGP).

Almost three hours after the first tremor, the National Emergency Operations Centre said there were no victims or severe damage to infrastructure, while the IGP indicated that two small aftershocks had been registered.

Peruvian monitors said there was no risk of a tsunami.

The quake struck at 9:54pm local time (02:54 GMT Wednesday), with an epicenter 33 kilometres southwest of Mala, itself some 100 kilometres south of Lima.

Crowds of residents in the capital — home to 9.7 million people, nearly one-third of Peru's population — poured out onto the city's streets when they felt the ground moving.

"It was very strong, it shook the whole house, we had to go outside," 60-year-old Julia Lazaro Rodríguez told AFP.

Mala Mayor Sonia Ramos told RPP radio that city officials were "walking the streets" looking for damage and victims.

"People are out in the street, there are reports of people who have fainted from shock," Ramos said.

Phone lines were temporarily interrupted to the city of 32,000 inhabitants, and Radio Nacional reported that some adobe houses had collapsed there, without giving details.

Landslides and rockfalls 

Traffic was suspended along the Costa Verde where a busy road hugs Lima's beaches, after some rocks fell from 80 metre cliffs above, according to local television.

There were also minor landslides in some of the desert hills outside the capital.

Panels fell from the ceiling at Lima's international airport, though it continued operating, and in some supermarkets bottles were broken by the shock, local media reported.

"It was very strong, but nothing happened, we are fine," retiree Julio Lopez told AFP.

Peru is rattled by dozens of earthquakes of varying strength each year as it is located in the Pacific ring of fire, a particularly seismically active region where the Earth's tectonic plates collide.

In the Americas the ring runs along the whole Pacific coastline, from Alaska to southern Chile.

Tensions are already running high in Peru as the country awaits the outcome of the June 6 presidential election, in which an apparent narrow victory by leftist Pedro Castillo is being challenged by right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori.

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