Published October 28, 2011
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake centered off Peru's central coast sent people running panicked into the streets Friday in cities badly damaged by a killer quake four years earlier. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
People who had lost loved ones and homes in the earlier quake were badly shaken and some broke into tears.
"It felt like the one in 2007 because it was very strong," Felix Sihuas told RPP radio. He said he was buried under rubble for six hours in the Aug. 15, 2007, quake, which killed 596 people and largely destroyed the town of Pisco.
Friday's quake was considerably less violent in Lima, a city of 8.5 million people some 180 miles. The capital shook for about 30 seconds in a series of moderate, swaying movements.
The U.S. Geological Survey said Friday's quake was centered 31 miles south-southwest of Ica, a provincial capital of about 200,00 people which suffered widespread damage in the 2007 quake. It was at a depth of 21.7 miles.
"There was panic, a lot of panic, but no material damage has been reported," said Ruben Vargas, a police official in Ica, which is flanked by asparagus fields and vineyards that produce wine and the liquor pisco.
Vargas said that many people were still in the streets nearly a half hour after the 1:54 p.m. quake. "Little by little people are calming down but they're still outside their homes," he added.
In Pisco, police officer Julio Lopez said people were spooked though the quake wasn't nearly as bad as the 2007 temblor.
"It wasn't like the last time. It was shorter," said Jorge Luis Yupanqui, 30, from Pisco. "Some people started to cry."
He said there was a big traffic jam in Pisco because he, like many others, went home to make sure his family and home were safe.
About 40,000 homes were destroyed in the 2007 quake and the previous government of President Alan Garcia was widely criticized for the slow pace of reconstruction.