PISCO, Peru – President Alan Garcia called for the orderly distribution of emergency supplies as desperate victims of a magnitude-8 earthquake on Peru's southern coast looted markets and blocked arriving aid trucks.
The delivery of goods "must be gradual," Garcia told reporters Friday, adding he ordered 200 navy officials to the area to maintain order.
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Television images showed hungry survivors leaving pharmacies and markets with bags full of food and other items. Some people ransacked a public market, while mobs looted a refrigerated trailer and blocked aid trucks.
The quake Wednesday afternoon all but leveled this city of 90,000 on Peru's desert southern coast and killed at least 510 people. Many of the structures not reduced to rubble were rickety deathtraps waiting to fall.
Garcia predicted "a situation approaching normality" in 10 days, but acknowledged that reconstruction would take far longer. He said authorities were considering nighttime curfews to maintain order on the streets, which still lack electricity.
Workers continued pulling bodies from the rubble, and hopes of finding more survivors diminished. At least 1,500 people suffered injuries and Garcia said 80,000 people had lost loved ones, homes or both.
On Friday afternoon, a Peruvian navy helicopter carrying food and medicine crash landed onto the roof of a one-story building in Ica, near Pisco's main plaza, local media said. No injuries were reported.
The relief effort was finally getting organized. Police identified bodies and civil defense teams ferried in food. Housing officials assessed the need for new homes, and in several towns long lines formed under intense sun to collect water from soldiers.
In the capital of Lima, Peruvians donated tons of supplies as food, water, tents and blankets began arriving in the quake zone.
Peruvian soldiers also began distributing aluminum caskets, allowing the first funerals. In Pisco's cemetery, lined with collapsed tombs and tumbled crosses, a man painted the names of the dead on headstones -- some 200 were lined up.
"My dear child, Gloria!" wailed Julia Siguis, her hands spread over two small coffins holding her cousin and niece. "Who am I going to call now? Who am I going to call?"
All day, people with no way to refrigerate corpses rushed coffins through the cemetery gate, which leaned dangerously until a bulldozer came to knock it down.
Amid the destruction, Canal N television reported that a woman identified as Ericka Gutierrez gave birth to a son in a makeshift hospital in Pisco.
"Now everything is new for me," said the baby's father, Jesus Boquillaza, whose home was destroyed. "My son will give me the strength to go forward. I'm very happy because now I have a new life and someone to fight for."
More aftershocks jolted the region, frightening survivors, who fell to their knees in prayer, but doing little damage. At least 18 tremors of magnitude-5 or greater struck after the initial quake.
Survivors told tales of lost loved ones -- a girl selling sweets outside a bank, a young woman studying dance, crushed when buildings made of unreinforced adobe and brick collapsed during the earth's interminable two minutes of heaving.
About 15 guests and workers could not get out as the five-story Embassy Hotel collapsed onto its ground floor. A billiard hall buried as many as 20 people.
Manuel Medina said he had dug the body of his 12-year-old nephew, Miguel Blondet Soto, and a dozen other children from their English classroom at the San Tomas school. "Those who were in front managed to get out, but those in the back died," he said.
Soaring church ceilings tumbled onto the faithful in towns all around this gritty port city, covering pews in tons of stone, timbers and dust.
"People were running out the front door screaming," said Renzo Hernandez, who watched as Pisco's San Clemente church disintegrated.
Fishing boats lay marooned in city streets in nearby San Andres, and an oceanside neighborhood of Pisco looked like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, with piles of rubble poking from water that rushed in during the tremor.
Rescue workers still held out hope of finding survivors but searchers were having little luck as they went block to block in Pisco, shouting into piles of brick and mortar: "We're firefighters! If you can hear us, shout or strike something!"
The U.S. government released $150,000 in cash to pay for emergency supplies and dispatched medical teams. It also sent two mobile clinics and loaned two helicopters to Peruvian authorities.